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macos: Finder's alias handling

From: Jean-Christophe Helary
Subject: macos: Finder's alias handling
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 2021 00:42:55 +0900

Finder's aliases are binary files that macOS recognizes as something akin to 
Unix soft links, but they're really very different, except that in dired, they 
don't look different, they just look like normal files, but opening them just 
displays a binary blob instead of following the link.

It's probably a problem that has already found a solution, and I'm trying to 
reinvent a wheel...

So, what I am trying to do is:

1) when I open such a file by mistake, I run a function that uses Applescript's 
ability to find the target file and I "find-file" that target in Emacs

That would go like this:

(shell-command (format "osascript -e \"tell application \\\"Finder\\\" to 
return quoted form of POSIX path of (original item of file (POSIX file 
\\\"%s\\\") as alias)\"" "/path/to/my/alias"))

This produces something like:


but in *Shell Command Output*, so that I can't just to (find-file 

There is probably a way to use the contents of *Shell Command Output* and 
insert that as an argument to find-file, but I don't find that very elegant, 
and I'm probably missing something in the shell-command because I can't see how 
I can use the output as a direct argument to find-file...

2) now, I'd like to generalize that so that Emacs automatically triggers that 
code when entering such a file. So I guess that would encompass dired and the 
likes, "find-file" and similar commands, etc. Is that even possible? I guess 
the answer is yes, but at what cost in terms of performance? And how would I go 
about that?

Jean-Christophe Helary @brandelune

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