Most Mac users fall into one of two camps: they either love the Dock, or they hate it. I fall somewhere in the middle, but, by default, I keep my Dock hidden at all times (via a setting in the Dock sub-menu of the Apple menu) and don’t store any applications there. The only time anything ever appears in my Dock is when it’s running. That works well for 90% of my Dock-OCD, but what about applications that I run all the time? For example, I use Dashboard and Quicksilver, both of which run all the time and both of which have icons in the Dock. What’s a clean-Dock-nutcase like me to do?
The answer is Dockless, a great little app written by the hilariously titled Humongous Elephants and Tigers, “the biggest little Mac OS X software company.” As far as I can tell, the Chief Developer and Bottle-washer over there is Matthew Fahrenbacker, a high school math teacher from Illinois who likes Star Wars, which is cool, and the Cubs, which is forgivable. He is also a self-proclaimed Mac Fanatic with a long list of original software available for free download. One of those apps is Dockless which, quite simply, makes running applications not show up in the Dock (or vice-versa).
Dockless has a single-window interface which lists all of the apps installed on your Mac and allows you, via a check-box next to each one, to set whether or not that app’s icon shows in your Dock. It takes a minute or two to populate the list each time you launch Dockless but, once the list is there, you can check and uncheck boxes to your heart’s content. You then simply quit the app and presto! your Dock is at you want it.
I use Dockless to keep Dashboard out of my Dock, as well as Quicksilver and, now that I think about it, Spam Sieve as well. All of these applications run constantly on my machine but, in the case of Spam Sieve, I interact with it through another app (Mail) and I access the other two via system-wide keyboard shortcuts.
In the end, thanks to Dockless, my Dock is left as I want it with no muss and no fuss. Like most of the apps I write about here, Dockless does one thing, does it well and stays out of my way. What else could you want?
Dockless is a free download and is available in two versions, one for Mac OS X 10.2 and earlier and one for 10.3 and later (and I can vouch that it works perfectly in Tiger).