Symbolic Link Service

Creating an Alias in Mac OS X is easy. Hold down the Option + Command keys and drag a file to some new location. Just like that you’ve got an Alias, which is, essentially, a pointer to the original file. The truth is, however, I’ve never had much use for Alias files. Symbolic Links, however, are a whole different kettle of fish.

Symbolic links are a feature of HFS+ and UFS file systems. They allow allow multiple references to files and folders without requiring multiple copies of these items. What this means is that you can relocate a library file from some application required location to somewhere else, like Dropbox, and your applications will be none the wiser. I use this trick to keep my Bento (which mandates its data file be located in the Application Support folder) to Dropbox so I can access my Dropbox data from multiple Macs.

The trouble is, creating symbolic links is a pain, requiring several terminal incantations. Not anymore. Mac OSX Hints has an ingenious Service using a bit of bash code to create your own symbolic link service. Check it out.

7 Comments Symbolic Link Service

  1. Pedant

    Actually, symbolic links do *not* allow you to "relocate" a library and its dangerous to have people think it does.

    What they do is let you have a "soft-pointer" in place B that references content in place A.

    People reading this article might think they can create a symbolic link to a file, then delete the original. They will find out fairly quickly that they have screwed the pooch.

    Reply
  2. freddiecox@me.com

    So I about to download and get the Service installed, but am unclear on how to use it. I can right-click a file and see Create Symbolic, but then it is not clear how to get the link to the folder where I want it. – Freddie

    Reply
  3. freddiecox@me.com

    So I about to download and get the Service installed, but am unclear on how to use it. I can right-click a file and see Create Symbolic, but then it is not clear how to get the link to the folder where I want it. – Freddie

    Reply
  4. freddiecox@me.com

    So I about to download and get the Service installed, but am unclear on how to use it. I can right-click a file and see Create Symbolic, but then it is not clear how to get the link to the folder where I want it. – Freddie

    Reply
  5. freddiecox@me.com

    So I about to download and get the Service installed, but am unclear on how to use it. I can right-click a file and see Create Symbolic, but then it is not clear how to get the link to the folder where I want it. – Freddie

    Reply
  6. freddiecox@me.com

    So I about to download and get the Service installed, but am unclear on how to use it. I can right-click a file and see Create Symbolic, but then it is not clear how to get the link to the folder where I want it. – Freddie

    Reply

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