Hack 38 DockSwap, Another Dock Alternative


Avoid Dock bloat with multiple configurable Docks.

Whether you love it or hate it, OS X's Dock has been lambasted for being a user interface nightmare (by an ex-Apple interface designer, no less), while at the same time receiving hearty cheers from fans of tabbed folders from OS 9. Either way, you may find yourself falling victim to Dock bloat, a sin many consider worthy of a few chuckles.

Myself, I'm a fan of the Dock. I've got my recently used Internet applications first, then text editors, followed by my file-sharing programs, then graphics, utilities, games, and folder pop ups. What I'd really love would be to get some more of those vertical lines in there so that I can more clearly differentiate which applications are in what category. As you can imagine, my Dock is pretty full, pretty small, and magnifies gratuitously.

Needing a better solution for my Dock madness, I cracked open DockSwap (http://www.pidog.com/OSX/) from piDog Software and immediately started having a blast organizing. You simply create a new Dock, switch to it, and add and remove items at will until it's just the way you want it (see Figure 4-11).

Figure 4-11. The DockSwap main window

Switch Docks via context menu (figs/command.gif-click on the DockSwap Dock icon, as shown in Figure 4-12) or key command (Control-Esc).

Figure 4-12. Switching Docks using the context menu

With DockSwap, you can have a Dock for every occasion, and multiple Docks I soon did have. Here's my current setup, switchable with a mouse click or key command:

Internet Tweakery

Includes all my browsers (for testing web designs and accessing nonstandard sites), BBEdit, various file-sharing programs (like Hotline, Carracho, Acquisition, xNap, Fetch, etc.), diagnostic utilities (the OS X Network Utility, shell files for tcpdump, etc.), and various other applications (iCamMaster, Snak, MT-NewsWatcher, etc.).


Contains various text editors ? like BBEdit, Microsoft Word, and TextEdit (with AntiWordService [Hack #12]) ? and a healthy dose of bookmarks for dictionaries, thesauri, clichés, word meanings, and so on. It also includes Sherlock for those quick encyclopedic/knowledge-of-the-Net searches.


Rarely used because my extra time is nonexistent, but contains such favorites as Snood, iColumns, JewelToy, Solitaire Till Dawn, and more. It includes a few bookmarks for quick searching at gamers.com, gamefaqs.com, and MobyGames. Having these out of the way in a separate Dock helps me resist the temptation to procrastinate accidentally.

I could go on and on about my Development, Miscellany, and EveryDay Docks, but I think you get the picture. DockSwap is yet another excellent RealBasic utility, available for a suggested shareware fee of $12.