Reading URLs from OS X clipboard with PyObjC
May 20, 2012 2 Comments
I’m definitely lazy. I don’t like making efforts bigger than needed, under any circumstances. And, when it comes to downloading a (quite big) bunch of files, I don’t like doing it manually. That’s why I’m currently using jDownloader on my iMac. However, it’s still got an issue: when I copy URLs from Safari, it instantly recognizes that URLs have been copied to the clipboard and adds them for download; but, when I copy HTML links from Safari whose text is just text (not an URL), this does not work anymore, and I then have to copy the links one by one, which really bothers me, because I’m lazy (and because I have to waste a lot of time for that).
So, the problem is that everything works fine when I copy something like
or something like
but it doesn’t work anymore when the link is like
And, since I’m lazy, I decided I had to write a program to copy a bunch of links at once, without all that hassle. The first idea that came to my mind was to write a Python script that used mechanize to copy to the clipboard all URLs in a web page, but that didn’t seem like the prettiest solution at that moment.
But then a second approach occurred to me: I could just copy the web page’s text to the clipboard and let a program read the richt text, HTML or whatever from the clipboard and find the URLs. Besides, that seemed to be an interesting program to write. I started considering RubyCocoa for that, but a deep knowledge of sorcery is needed to be able to use Xcode, and I’m not such a good sorcerer. After that, my tests with Qt weren’t successful, so I decided to go search on the internet for some recipes to access the OS X clipboard with Python.
After digging for a while, I found and article on Python and the Mac Clipboard which pointed me in the right direction: use PyObjC to access the NSPasteboard class. After taking a look at the documentation and testing a bit, supported by Python’s built-in
help() functions, I found that
- all of the items that are currently in the pasteboard are returned as an
- the list of all types to which each pasteboard item can be converted is returned as an
- all text copied from Safari can be accessed both as
NSPasteboardItem.dataForType_method, and as
from AppKit import NSPasteboard import re pb = NSPasteboard.generalPasteboard() pattern = re.compile(r'HYPERLINK "(.+)"') for item in pb.pasteboardItems(): if 'public.rtf' in item.types(): matches = pattern.findall(item.stringForType_('public.rtf')) for url in matches: print url
You can then copy the output URLs manually to the clipboard, which would make jDownloader to recognize them, or you could also improve the script to add copying capabilities, so that the script would copy the output to the clipboard again.