Creator Codes Gone in Snow Leopard

This is something I hadn’t noticed, but am completely disappointed to find out about: Snow Leopard disregards files’ creator codes.

Ugh.  WHY?

If you don’t know what creator codes are, they are four byte codes that tell the operating system what application created a file.  The OS uses the code to determine what application to open the file with (there is also a “type” code, that takes the place of file extensions – which can also help determine what application can open a particular file).  These codes can be used to make sure certain files of a specific type open in certain applications, and other files of that type open with a different application.  By default, the application used to create the file will automatically open it when the file is double-clicked.  This is useful if you have different applications that handle the same file types.  A good example of this is if you are doing web development, you’ll likely want the .html files you are working on to open in the editor you created them with, instead of your web browser.

Well, with Snow Leopard, that is no longer true.  New files created in any application will open with whatever the default application for that file type is.  So, if you create an .html file in BBEdit, then try to open it later by double-clicking on it, the file will open in Safari.  This is bad behavior.  This is Windows behavior.

You can still bind a file to a certain application in the “Get Info” window in the Finder (which uses a different method than creator codes), but this forces users to take an extra step to accomplish what used to be the default.  Nobody is going to want to do this for every single file they are working on.

I can see how, for some people, this may be the preferred behavior.  For example, if I’m working in Photoshop, and I want to create a .jpg (or .png, or whatever), I select “Save for web and devices” to do that, and keep my working project file as a Photoshop .psd document.  In this case, when I double-click the resulting .jpg file, I prefer that it open in Preview, rather than launch Photoshop, since I’m not planning on editing that .jpg, but would rather go back to the original .psd file to make any changes, then re-save using the above method.

That is, however, the only example I can think of where I would want a file to open with a different app than the one I created it with.

Also, I can see that most “average” computer users won’t be affected by this at all.  Here, I’m talking about people who are using their computers to surf the web, check their email, work with Office files, use iTunes, iPhoto, etc.  These people are never going to notice this behavior.  But, at the same time, keeping the creator codes is not going to affect them in the slightest, either.

So why do it, Apple?  Why get rid of one of the (simple) things that lifted the Macintosh experience above that of other operating systems?  If it’s something that the average user isn’t going to notice in the first place, but “power” users will, what is the point in doing it?  It should at least be an option that power users could turn on or off.

I really hope enough people make a stink about this for Apple to reconsider, and reinstate creator codes in a Snow Leopard update.  If you are one of the people who thinks this might affect you, let Apple know about it:

Apple Mac OS X Feedback page.

Read more about this issue:

Ross Carter – Snow Leopard’s Giant Step Backward

TidBITS – Snow Leopard Snubs Document Creator Codes

via Daring Fireball