Custom Jig apps

I spent a good deal of today fixing and updating some personal apps that I use for creating other software and for writing books. Occasionally I fix these up and put them on the store for friends. Most of the time, they end up joining the gadzillions of others in my app folder.

Today, I thought I’d revisit a few of these and just see if they struck a note with anyone.

Rex helps me design, test, and escape regular expressions. I throw in some sample text, and start typing into the primary field. Rex auto parses the input expression (it turns red when invalid) and highlights matches in the sample. Rex also supports multiple groups, using multi-color highlights when it detects them. It has a replace mode  and a regular expression cheat sheet. Mostly I set up my regexes, and then click to escape the expression and copy it to the pasteboard for use in Xcode.

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 3.18.29 PM

Add Blocker shows whether Xcode is set up to add by reference (green apple) or to copy files (red apple). I wrote this because Xcode doesn’t seem to provide a setting. Even if it did, I like that I can instantly visualize how things are set up currently and tweak that copy/reference setting from the menu bar without having to futz directly with Xcode.

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 3.29.47 PM

Two icons to the right of Add Blocker is ImgurPush my upload-to-Imgur app. After I drag pictures onto that icon it highlights during transfer and chirps when the upload is complete. I posted about 90% of the code for this a week or so ago. It’s only about 20 lines long total and half of that is just setting up the status bar to accept drags.

The sunflower to its right is Xcode Chooser. This menu toggles between distribution Xcode (flower) and Beta Xcode (bee). It ensures that I’m always working with the right set of macros and Xcode-select choices. This one is probably my least distributed custom build because it runs Applescript that manipulate my macro settings.

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 3.32.55 PM

Numbering Helper adjusts file numbering. I drop figures on it, and it renumbers them all with an offset, keeping whatever figure standard F0103 or 07Fig05, etc, I’m using for that particular book. For any typical book projects, I often end up changing chapter orders not to mention moving figures around chapters, insert new ones, and removing others. This app is indispensable because no matter how much your development editor loves you, he will love you more if he doesn’t have to re-number your figures by hand.

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 3.34.52 PM

Slice crops multiple pictures in tandem so they’re all the same size and cut at the same point. I use this all the time to create figures based on a series of related screen shots.

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 3.48.35 PM

Spritinator automates the process from sprite-sheet to SpriteKit code for me. It lets me count columns and lines, set a start and end frame, and adjusts frames per second. Once I have a sprite set up, I can create a custom set-up method for the asset and I never really have to think about this bit at the low end again.

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 3.49.40 PM


I use SnippetBypass as an end-run around Xcode’s snippet editing instability. It lets me safely edit existing snippets or create new ones.

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 3.48.54 PM

Sometimes you just need a barcode to test with. I use QRDrati.

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 3.43.54 PMScreen Shot 2015-05-29 at 4.12.50 PM

Listener helps me figure out what notifications are flying around my computer because sometimes that can be quite interesting.

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 3.41.57 PM

I think you can guess what this next one does:

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 3.44.50 PM

I think I’m going to stop here because it occurs to me this is running way longer than I anticipated.

So what apps have you created for your own use?


  • This was a really interesting post, thanks for sharing!

    I don’t use regex often, but if I did, I would really love your Rex app… you should put it for sale!

  • Personally I would love your copy/reference app.

  • @cdf1982 Although Erica’s native app would be useful, online does something similar.

  • Not an app, but an Automator service. Once I copy a repo path to the clipboard (like from Github), I can clone that repo into a Finder folder by right clicking on the folder and selecting my GitCloneHere menu item. Here’s my gist link with instructions and script: