47 Prying the Chrome Off Cocoa Applications

Prying the Chrome Off Cocoa Applications


Metallifizer paints and strips the brushed-metal appearance of any Cocoa application.

There are two types of Mac users: those who find the brushed-metal look-and-feel of iTunes, Address Book, iChat, and the like just plain fab and those who wonder what some of these app designers are thinking with all this futuristic nonsense. Thank heavens for Metallifizer (http://www.unsanity.com/download.php?product=metallifizer) (freeware), another terrific haxie from the folks at Unsanity. Give any Cocoa application that brushed-metal appearance if you're so inclined. Or pry the default chrome right off that otherwise-favorite app.

Perhaps a quick recap of the three Mac OS X application types is in order. Classic refers to applications built pre-Mac OS X; these run in Classic mode, effectively a Mac OS 9 emulator. Carbon applications have been modified to run under both Mac OS X and Mac OS 9; examples include: iMovie, Internet Explorer, QuickTime, and iTunes. Cocoa applications — like iChat, iPhoto, and the Address Book — are built specifically for Mac OS X. Metallifizer works only on the last category of applications.


Metallifizer is a module for Unsanity's Application Enhancer (APE) haxie (http://www.haxies.com/ape/). You'll need to download and install it before you can use Metallifizer. Figure shows the APE preference pane.

The APE preference pane

With APE installed, download and install Metallifizer by dragging it into your Library/Application Enhancers folder, as shown in Figure. If the folder doesn't yet exist, go ahead and create it.

Installing Metallifizer

You'll need to log out and back in again before the Metallifizer will work. Once you've done so, open the System Preferences APE Manager preference pane, shown in Figure.

Metallifizing and demetallifizing applications

You'll notice that the Metallifizer plug-in is in operation; its checkbox should be checked. Altering the appearance of an application is then just a matter of adding it to or removing it from the APE Manager and selecting Metallifize (add the brushed-metal effect) or Demetallifize (remove the brushed-metal effect).

Figure shows what iSync looks like before and after demetallifizing. Figure shows a before and after composite for TextEdit, the ubiquitous Mac OS X text editor — not metallifized by default.

iSync before and after
TextEdit before and after

—Wei-Meng Lee

     Python   SQL   Java   php   Perl 
     game development   web development   internet   *nix   graphics   hardware 
     telecommunications   C++ 
     Flash   Active Directory   Windows