The Gems of Apple’s Development Tools

One of the greatest things about OS X is how fun and easy it is to build applications that can do some amazing things. Apple makes this very accessible with Xcode and their other development tools freely available to anyone who wants them. But even if you’re not a developer, there are some really cool things buried within the Apple Development Tools. Here are a few of those little gems that I found while poking around the in the Developer directory:

Core Image Fun HouseCore Image Fun House
Found in /Developer/Applications/Graphics Tools/
If you’ve used Photo Booth, you’ve seen all the cool effects that can be done to the pictures you take there. Believe it or not, effects like these are actually available to any application using the Core Image and Core Video frameworks in OS X. Core Image Fun House is a little app that allows you to play around with all the different effects available with the Core Image component. Not only can you have some real fun with all the different effects at your disposal, but playing around with the Fun House will make you realize just how powerful OS X is.

PixiePixie
Found in /Developer/Applications/Graphics Tools/
Another neat little image tool, Pixie magnifies the area surrounding your cursor on the screen anywhere from 200% to 1200%. It doesn’t do a whole lot, but it’s a nice tool for designers or pixel artists to have at their disposal.

Quartz ComposerQuartz Composer
Found in /Developer/Applications/Graphics Tools/
The great thing about many of the Developer Tools is that they give you a better idea of the inner workings of OS X, if that’s what your interested in. Quartz is the underlying image layer that allows for all the visual effects such as transparency and shadows that are prevalent in the operating system, and it is the foundation for the cool screen savers in OS X. Quartz Composer gives you the entirety of this powerful imaging layer to work with to create your own compositions.

AU LabAU Lab
Found in /Developer/Applications/Audio/
Core Image and Core Video are often touted as awesome features of OS X, but many people often forget about the very sophisticated sound subsystem that Core Audio allows for. To go along with that sophistication, Apple included AU Lab with the Development Tools. AU Lab is a very full-featured audio mixer that can do some amazing things, though it does have a steep learning curve. You’re in luck, thoughApple includes extensive documentation for all of the Development Tools.

Spin ControlSpin Control
Found in /Developer/Applications/Performance Tools/
Though it was designed for developers to debug their own apps, Spin Control is a useful tool for determining exactly what’s taking a program so long to do its thing. We all hate that spinning beach ball of death; Spin Control won’t stop it, but it will do its best to tell you why it’s there in the first place.

Thread ViewerThread Viewer
Found in /Developer/Applications/Performance Tools/
Thread Viewer is another great back-end debugging tool. “Attaching” it to a running app can tell you how many cycles the app’s processing threads are taking up, and what kind of activity those threads are doing. This can be especially useful in determining where an app stalled out.

FileMergeFileMerge
Found in /Developer/Applications/Utilities/
As a writer and editor, I was very pleased when I found FileMerge. This app allows you to compare two text files side by side and find their similarities and differences. Each alteration is highlighted, and you can choose which “side” you want to accept. It’s a really great way to compare two similar but not exact blocks of text and make changes and corrections.

Repeat After MeRepeat After Me
Found in /Developer/Applications/Utilities/Speech/
I haven’t had a whole lot of time to play around with Repeat After Me, but the concept is great: you input a word or phrase in text form, then you repeat the same word or phrase into a microphone. Over time, doing this will increase the accuracy of the speech-to-text in OS X. There’s a lot of science going on in there that I know nothing about, but it’s very fun to play around with and see what you can get working.

SetFile (Terminal icon)SetFile
Found in /Developer/Tools/
Lastly, SetFile is a very useful shell script for setting the attributes of files, folders, and volumes, even ones you don’t normally have access to. There are many uses for this script, including hiding a Boot Camp volume from OS X, but be warned: playing around with file attributes can be mighty tricky. You can find the documentation for the uses of SetFile within the Developer directory and also on Apple’s website, but I wouldn’t recommend using it unless you know what you’re doing.

These are just a few of the many tools you’ll find in the Apple Development Tools package. I’d say even if you’re not an application developer, it’s worth the download just for the useful and fun tools you can find there. The Apple Development Tools are available for free. Download the latest version here.

UPDATE: I goofed. Reader EmptySet says this about Repeat After Me: “R.A.M. is simply an app that lets you contour the prosody (pitch and duration) of speech spoken by Apple's speech engine. You can also record your own voice to see what it's prosodic contour is, so you can try to copy the same curve for the artificial speech, thus making it sound ‘better’.” Thanks for the clarification, EmptySet!

Comments

43 Responses to “The Gems of Apple’s Development Tools”

  1. Miles Evans on April 16th, 2007 8:35 am

    Damn Josh as a recent switcher I found this incredibly educational. Thanks a lot.

  2. Alec Feld on April 16th, 2007 9:06 am

    FileMerge is sweet. Thanks Josh.

  3. tide on April 16th, 2007 10:14 am

    Great list, though curious why links are not available. Besides,
    ‘~\Developer\Applications\Performance Tools\’ does not exist. Where in the directory is ‘Spin Control’ located?

  4. tide on April 16th, 2007 10:16 am

    ^ is st00pid and should read the first paragraph before posting. Sorry!

  5. Michael on April 16th, 2007 10:59 am

    Great post. I’ll have to mess with these when I get home today.

  6. Jordan Golson on April 16th, 2007 11:14 am

    Your slashes are going the wrong way.

  7. Mike on April 16th, 2007 1:00 pm

    Can anyone gimme more info on AU Lab?

  8. Chris Wolf on April 16th, 2007 2:16 pm

    Also, your paths should not have a ~ at the beginning… ~ indicates a path relative to the current user’s home directory whereas the paths you mention are absolute.

  9. alej744 on April 16th, 2007 4:32 pm

    I’ve known about Core Image fun house for-eeeever, and I use it to put effects on all my avatars. I’m definitely going to check out Spin Doctor and FileMerge.

  10. Andreas on April 16th, 2007 6:48 pm

    An awesome article Josh, a few of these that I haven’t played around with too much yet. Will have to check’em out :)

  11. shadownight on April 16th, 2007 7:21 pm

    Josh, sorry, but the ~ does indicate the user folder. Root-level directories simply start with a slash.

  12. John Baker on April 16th, 2007 7:56 pm

    Well… I have officially been schooled. :(

    Thanks for the corrections, guys.

  13. EmptySet on April 17th, 2007 4:18 am

    First off, Repeat After Me is text-to-speech, not speech-to-text. Secondly, accuracy is NOT improved with reptetive use of the application (honestly, that statement doesn’t make sense – accuracy of what?). R.A.M. is simply an app that lets you contour the prosody (pitch and duration) of speech spoken by Apple’s speech engine. You can also record your own voice to see what it’s prosodic contour is, so you can try to copy the same curve for the artificial speech, thus making it sound “better”. Finally, RAM will automatically generate the speech information needed to make the speech synth speak this way. You can then copy that “script” to any speech-able app.

  14. Marcus on April 17th, 2007 4:35 am

    I don’t think you gave sufficient credit to Quartz Composer. It is an absolutely stunning and comprehensive app, not some little developer utility. It was not originally created by Apple, but by Pierre-Olivier Latour as PixelShox Studio. For examples of the kind of thing you can create with it, check out the RSS screensaver in Tiger. It also has good MIDI and audio support. QuickTime can play back the resulting ‘qtz’ files (which are tiny).
    There is an audio synthesiser for Windows called Synth Maker by Outsim that is very similarly constructed. Unfortunately it’s not available for OS X.

  15. The Gems of Apple's Development Tools « v1ruz blog on April 17th, 2007 4:43 am

    [...] read more | digg story [...]

  16. The Gems of Apple's Development Tools « News Coctail on April 17th, 2007 5:28 am

    [...] Gems of Apple's Development Tools Filed under: Uncategorized — recar @ 9:23 am The Gems of Apple's Development Tools Apple makes this very accessible with Xcode and their other development tools freely available to [...]

  17. Apple Developer on April 17th, 2007 7:26 am

    :) X-code is one super duper development tool. Only Visual Studio can beat it. Other then that its a Cool fast thing to work with. And for the Mac Developer its a GOD

  18. John Baker on April 17th, 2007 8:21 am

    Thanks for the clarification, EmptySet. As I said in the post, I didn’t have a whole lot of time to play around with Repeat After Me, but what I read either indicated what I posted, or I interpreted what I read incorrectly. I’ll be sure to do a bit more research next time. Thanks again!

  19. Gems | Pascal Pensa on April 17th, 2007 9:36 am

    [...] The Gems of Apple's Development Tools (via). [...]

  20.   The Gems of Apple's Development Tools by All Free space on April 17th, 2007 11:26 am

    [...] read more | digg story [...]

  21. Epimenide on April 19th, 2007 6:17 am

    I’m working with a team that’s using Quartz Composer in real-time video production environment: nothing else around gives that power and is as customizable (plus, it comes for free). Really, a gem: not without shortcomings, but it’s just the beginning!

  22. Uptonian Thoughts » links for 2007-04-17 - Thomas Upton And His Musings on April 25th, 2007 10:29 am

    [...] The Gems of Apple's Development Tools | MacApper Some neat apps provided by Apple’s developer tools located on the Tiger DVD. (tags: apple utility xcode development mac osx programming tool) [...]

  23. Apple News » The Gems of Apple's Development Tools on April 27th, 2007 1:16 am

    [...] Here are a few of those little gems that I found while poking around the in the Developer directory.read more | digg [...]

  24. Motorcycle Guy on April 27th, 2007 3:52 pm

    I don’t see how pixie is a development tool. Its more of a graphics tool, or an accessibility tool.

  25. Sss on May 7th, 2007 11:12 am

    @Motorcycle Guy

    When you are creating a user interface there is a constant need to zoom in to look at how graphic elements are alined. Pixie makes that very easy and I use it every day.

  26. notes » The Gems of Apple's Development Tools | MacApper on July 4th, 2007 10:22 pm

    [...] The Gems of Apple's Development Tools | MacApper The Gems of Apple's Development Tools [...]

  27. Small K on September 11th, 2007 6:51 am

    Can anyone tell me where does “Repeat After ME” save the recorded speech? Coz I just can’t find it.

  28. 61256a6adef0 on May 9th, 2008 6:23 am

    61256a6adef0…

    61256a6adef090824c64…

  29. weeds season 6 on April 26th, 2010 9:38 pm

    Very educational apple seems to have alot of development tools for the small apps

  30. idrive on February 9th, 2011 4:34 pm

    Hi Guys, I just found a pretty nice site for unlock / jailbreak/ iphone 3g 3gs and iphone4 jailbreak.

    http://www.anysim.net

    Thank u Anysim Team for fast Support. :)

    Did everybody now when the update ios 4.3 for iphone4 comes?

  31. fdaffg on July 5th, 2011 11:32 pm

    <a href="http://www.hatsnewera.com/af-hats" title="A&F Hats">A&F Hats</a>
    <a href="http://www.hatsnewera.com/boston-red-sox-hats" title="Boston Red Sox Hats">Boston Red Sox Hats</a>
    <a href="http://www.hatsnewera.com/chicago-white-sox-hats" title="Chicago White Sox Hats">Chicago White Sox Hats</a>

  32. aaronandy on September 9th, 2011 5:33 am

    thanks for your sharing ,i like it,it’s so intersting,I will come here too.

  33. polo ralph lauren femme pas cher on April 7th, 2013 8:18 am

    Greetings I am so excited I found your website, I really found you by error, while I was looking on Aol for
    something else, Regardless I am here now and would just like to
    say thank you for a tremendous post and a all round
    entertaining blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have
    time to read through it all at the moment but I have bookmarked
    it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I have time
    I will be back to read a great deal more, Please do keep up the great work.

    Here is my blog post polo ralph lauren femme pas cher

  34. chemise homme armani on April 13th, 2013 3:48 pm

    I enjoy what you guys are up too. This sort of clever work and reporting!
    Keep up the very good works guys I’ve added you guys to blogroll.

    Also visit my homepage chemise homme armani

  35. chemise ralph lauren outlet on April 15th, 2013 8:45 am

    Everyone loves what you guys are up too. This type of
    clever work and exposure! Keep up the very good works guys I’ve included you guys to our blogroll.

    my web site … chemise ralph lauren outlet

  36. chemise dolce gabbana outlet on April 17th, 2013 3:53 pm

    You are so cool! I do not think I’ve read anything like that before. So nice to find another person with a few original thoughts on this subject matter. Really.. thank you for starting this up. This site is one thing that is required on the web, someone with some originality!

    my web site; chemise dolce gabbana outlet

  37. mstsc command line options on September 15th, 2013 5:32 pm

    Spot on with this write-up, I really feel this site needs far more attention.
    I’ll probably be back again to read through more, thanks for the info!

  38. Clash Of Clans Hack German on March 20th, 2014 1:04 pm

    The Conflict of Clans mobile app was launched during the Apple inc application retailer a
    couple of several years back and he has gone through numerous
    improvements consequently. The hottest upgrade was completed in Apr 2013 as well as up-to-date adaptation that is definitely for download is 3.124.
    The game play is available in different languages, 9 to get
    actual and is particularly rated 9 given that it has fantasy
    violence or Minor animated assault. The length of the video game is 47.9 MB and requires iOS option 4.3 or from any of the later editions.
    The iphone app is extremely steady and hardly ever
    collisions, that is a allowed function several adventure software usually accident or turn into no-responsive sometimes.
    The overall game has actually been designed for smart phone 5 and will also be performed for the iPod touch (3rd, 5th and 4th generations.

    Has in-app purchases that will allow you to buy gems and coins
    that can be used in the game, even though clash of Clans
    is a free game. Cash flow is made with the gameplay designer through these in-app expenses and there
    are many different who spend a ton of money investing in
    gemstones even while learning the sport. Children have been known to
    rake up quite a bill while playing the game and therefore parents need to be more
    vigilant if the kids have access to the password that will allow the app
    to charge you for the purchases. Parents are also able to
    disable the in-app invest in option in your environments of your unit to forestall little
    ones from utilizing real cash to choose different products which have deliver in the retailer.

    You will find numbers of competitors who play the game Clash of
    Clans across the world of which this gives you the ability to
    power team plan clans that had been brought to life by game
    enthusiasts from diverse regions which enable it to
    also be competitive up against other clans.
    This may cause this game so much more helpful as you will see a lot of different
    techniques and strategies that will be made use of by members and that increases the unpredictability issue.
    Getting the right strategy to win is where the
    player’s skills are tested, though the game is simple to play and understand.

    To experience Conflict of Clans, you will have to get
    a hold of the Conflict of Clans application with the The apple company shop together with the
    writer highlights to the different parts of the application as well as the safety measures that
    have to be used by mom and dad to stop misuse of your performance mobile app by young boys and girls.

  39. how to make headboard on March 20th, 2014 4:29 pm

    Create your own designer headboard by painting a large canvas to hang behind the bed.
    But if your budget does not allow you to splurge on
    a stylish headboard right now, don’t worry. But in reality,
    unless you’re a skilled carpenter, you’re probably not going to be able to make one yourself.

  40. imvu credits on April 1st, 2014 9:46 am

    I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you make this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you?
    Plz respond as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to
    find out where u got this from. thank you

  41. leset on April 1st, 2014 11:34 pm

    Hi there, for all time i used to check webpage posts here in the early
    hours in the dawn, since i love to find out more and more.

  42. sanctum2game.blogspot.com on April 17th, 2014 10:23 am

    Tell them that they need a car because it will save them time and
    money in the long run. So you have purchased your brand new RC car RTR
    (ready to race), or just finished assembling it from a kit.
    Water is restrained and contained in the engine block areas where motor heat
    will “warm it up”.

  43. Ramiro on April 18th, 2014 5:54 pm

    Its like you read my thoughts! You appear to understand so much about this, such as you
    wrote the book in it or something. I feel that you simply
    can do with a few p.c. to pressure the message house a little bit, but instead of that, that is excellent blog.
    A fantastic read. I’ll certainly be back.

Feel free to leave a comment...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!