Openlab 5: Color Tables and Automator Items

Technical Note: 432
Reads: 6507
Creation Date: 21/12/2006
Modification Date: 21/12/2006

With Openlab 5, the location of the "Color Tables", "Automator Menu Items" and "Automator Subroutines" folders has changed. In Openlab 4.0 and earlier versions, these items were located in the Openlab application folder. There were several problems with this:

  • Different users were not able to have their own Color Tables and Automator Menu Items without installing multiple versions of Openlab
  • When a new version of Openlab is installed, users have to remember to copy their items from the old copy of Openlab to the new ones
  • It is considered bad practice for Mac OS X applications to store information alongside the application in this way

With Openlab 5, these items are now all stored in the "Application Support" folder for each user in a folder called "Openlab". This allows each user to have their own color tables and Automator items and complies much better with Mac OS X standards.

For some multi-user facilities this change has had unintended consequences. In some facilities, the system administrator would like to control the items available to each user centrally. When the items were stored alongside the application this was simple, but now they are stored separately for each user this becomes more difficult. Our suggested solution to this is as follows:

  1. Use Openlab 5.0.3 or higher - this is required for this scheme to work.
  2. Create two folders somewhere that all the users can get read access to - this could be in /Users/Shared or it could be on a server. We will call these folders "Shared Automator Menu Items" and "Shared Color Tables". Put shared Automations into "Shared Automator Menu Items", copy the contents of the Administrator's "Color Tables" folder ("~/Library/Application Support/Openlab/Color Tables") to "Shared Color Tables". These items are going to be shared among all users.
  3. Create a template Openlab "application support" folder with this structure:

        Automator Menu Items
          Alias to Shared Automator Menu Items
        Color Tables
          Alias to Shared Color Tables

    Those two "alias" items are aliases to the shared items we created in the previous step

  4. For each user, copy this template "Openlab" folder into "~/Library/Application Support/" ("~" is the user's "home" folder)
  5. Each user will now have their own "Color Tables" and "Automator Menu Items" folder, these will include all the shared items. This offers the best of all worlds - users can have their own Automations and color tables, plus it is possible for administrators to have central (read-only) control over shared Automations and color tables.

An example implementation of this is available for download here:

If your Openlab workstation has a lot of users, this process can be automated using "login scripts". These are scripts that run for each user when they log in to the computer. Apple has some information on login scripts available here:

Consult your local IT or Computer Services team about how to use login scripts to automate this process.