File list synchronization between Mac OS X applications: Using ‘Nudge’ as a work-around

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
May 30th, 2004 • 7:07 am

This happens to me quite often — far too often, in fact. I use Snapz Pro X to take a snap shot of something in my Mac OS X environment. I open the snap shot in Photoshop, do a little bit of editing if needed, and then save it as a new web-optimized GIF file in a folder called “Uploads”.

I then switch to Safari to go to my blog system’s control panel, create a new blog entry and upload the GIF file to my server so that I can include in the new entry. The button to upload the file to the server opens an “Open File” type of dialog box in Safari. I go to my “Uploads” folder in that dialog box, and look for my new GIF file in there… And it’s not there!

I go to the Finder and open the “Uploads” folder in there. The new GIF file is there!

I return to Safari, reopen the “Open File” dialog to upload the new GIF file, look inside the “Uploads” folder and… the GIF file is not there!

This problem is, unfortunately, well known and well documented. As discussed in a previous blog entry, it can affect any Mac OS X application. It already existed before Panther, but somehow Apple has managed to make it worse in Panther and, as of Mac OS X 10.3.4, still hasn’t done anything to remedy the problem.

Fortunately, Rainer Brockerhoff, developer of XRay and other Mac OS X utilities, has developed a free contextual menu plug-in called “Nudge” that can be used in the Finder to… “nudge” the selected folder and force it to refresh its file list so that it includes all the files that actually exist in the folder.

But this contextual menu plug-in is only available in the Finder itself. What do you do if the file list in the Finder does include the file, but not the file list in an “Open File” dialog box in another Mac OS X application?

Until now, I thought that the only work-around was to quit and restart the application in question. But now I seem to have found another, more convenient work-around. Even if the file in question does appear in the file list for the folder in the Finder, select the folder just the same and apply the “Nudge” command to it. This won’t change anything to its contents in the Finder window (which is already up-to-date), but when you return to the “Open File” dialog in the problem application, the missing file will be there! (At least that’s what happened the last time I had the problem in Safari, for the first snap shot in my last blog entry. I hope it wasn’t just a coincidence…)

Still, really, Apple should be ashamed. This problem should not exist in the first place, and has been around for a long enough time!

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