Quick Look is a handy feature of Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard”. It allows you to view the contents of a file without actually opening it. I’ve found it extremely useful for browsing files.

Quick Look on a .pro file

Of course, out of the box, Leopard doesn’t understand IDL .pro files because ITT VIS doesn’t provide a real application for IDL (the .app files in the IDL distribution are just executable files, not directories in the form expected). Normally, an application provides a listing of associated file types and information about them in a .plist file inside its .app directory. Here is my attempt to provide a “fake” application that doesn’t do anything except associate .pro files with the plain text file type. To install, simply open the disk image and place the “FakeIDL.app” in /Applications somewhere.

Also, in a related item, it’s possible to use Quick Look from the command line (although I generally use it from the Finder). The command is fairly simple, but generates a lot of messages. Here’s a simple script that cuts the clutter it. Put it in your path and call it like:

ql *.pdf

UPDATE: IDL 7.0 seems to have broken my FakeIDL.app. I’ll see if I can fix it.