QuickTime: ‘Save As Source…’ command still doesn’t support long file names

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
May 23rd, 2007 • 10:17 am

When you’ve given Apple the $29.99US it wants for the privilege of being able to use QuickTime’s so-called “Pro” features, such as the ability to watch movies full-screen or to save embedded content off a web page, you expect a decent product for your money.

I don’t know what Apple’s definition of a decent product is, but apparently it doesn’t include support for file names longer than 31 characters—i.e. support for long file names, something that was introduced at the OS level in Mac OS X about six years ago.

If you have QuickTime Pro, try this. Visit a web page with an embedded MP3 file whose file name happens to be longer than 31 characters, such as this one. Wait until the MP3 file is fully loaded in the embedded QuickTime Player. Now go to the button with the down-pointing triangle, in the bottom-right corner, and click on it.

This will pull down a contextual menu with various commands, including, if you have QuickTime Pro, the “Save As Source…” command, which lets you save the embedded MP3 file as a stand-alone MP3 file anywhere on your hard drive.

Choose the “Save As Source…” command. A “Save Source File As…” dialog box appears. Look at the file name suggested in the “Save As:” field at the top.

It’s a truncated version of the original name of the file (which is listed above the embedded QuickTime Player on the web page). Worse still, the truncation has actually removed the all-important “.mp3” file extension, which identifies the file as an MP3 file!

Ouch. This is happening in 2007. Mac OS X has had built-in support for long file names since 2001. Pretty much every Mac OS X application being sold today supports long file names. But not Apple’s own QuickTime Pro, which obviously is still using program code from the pre-Mac OS X days.

And they expect us to gleefully pay $29.99 for this…

6 Responses to “QuickTime: ‘Save As Source…’ command still doesn’t support long file names”

  1. Richard Pollock says:

    The reason for this is QTs use of FSSpecs rather than FSRefs (see this technote: http://developer.apple.com/technotes/tn2002/tn2078.html).

    This is obviously pretty shocking, but I’m hopeful it will be fixed in Leopard, as the low-level QuickTime engine’s being completely revamped (according to session 200 at last year’s WWDC).

  2. jking says:

    I noticed this same behaviour just the other day when using droplets in the Windows port of ImageReady. It didn’t eradicate the file extensions, though, at least…

  3. nygard says:

    I just tried this at the site you linked to. As you’ve noted before, the filename textfield doesn’t resize as you resize the save panel. However, it does contain the full name, including the extension. This is with 10.4.9 and Quicktime 7.1.6.

  4. Pierre Igot says:

    Well, I am definitely using QuickTime 7.1.6 and Mac OS X 10.4.9, and I am definitely getting a truncated file name:


    Nothing beyond that—which, coincidentally, is indeed just about what fits in the visible part of the text field. I suspect this text field width was chosen at a time when file names were indeed limited to 31 chars, and hasn’t been changed since.

    Anyway, I can’t explain why you are getting the full name. I am not getting anything beyond what’s quoted above. If I try to move the cursor any farther to the right, I get nothing, so it’s not like it’s hidden or anything.

    Out of curiosity, are you using a PowerPC or an Intel Mac? Maybe there’s some difference between the two code bases?

  5. Steve Nygard says:

    I have a PowerPC Mac, but I think I’ve found the problem. Do you have Flip4Mac installed?

    I use Safari, but tried the “Save As Source…” in three other browsers, and they all worked. Then I looked at the page source, and it has a type of application/x-mplayer2 for the sound file. The installed plugins list didn’t show anything for this MIME type, so it must have chosen the QuickTime plugin based on the file extension.

    I just installed Flip4Mac, and it is registered for that MIME type, and sure enough the save panel shows exactly what you were seeing.

    The pull-down menu has “About Flip4Mac WMV Web Plug-In”, so you should easily be able to tell if you’re getting this plugin or the QuickTime one.

  6. Pierre Igot says:

    Yes, I do have Flip4Mac installed, and it is the name listed at the top of the menu… Good spotting!

    Why does F4M get involved in this? MP3 files should be handled by QuickTime natively, not with the plug-in, shouldn’t they?

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