Thursday, January 2, 2014

Identifying and Handling Transient or Special Data on the Clipboard

Smile Software’s NSPasteboard.org is a reference document about how Mac apps can cooperate when using the system pasteboard:

TextExpander, Butler, TypeIt4Me, Typinator, Keyboard Maestro, pasteboard history applications, and other applications briefly commandeer Mac OS X’s general pasteboard to transport large chunks of data into the user’s current context quickly. Often, shortly after this data is inserted, the pasteboard is returned to its previous contents. These applications need a way to identify their data as being temporary, different than content Copied by the user, and/or otherwise special – additional pasteboard types offer a solution.

CopyPaste, PTHPasteboard, iClip, and other pasteboard history utilities maintain histories of the pasteboard’s contents. Pasteboard data identified as transient should not be included in these histories.

Additionally, password utilities such as 1Password might mark passwords or other sensitive data, either placed programmatically or user-Copied to the pasteboard, so that pasteboard history utilities could obfuscate passwords when displayed on screen (to avoid inadvertently revealing your password to a “shoulder surfer”), and/or avoid writing them as plain text to a pasteboard history file.

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