Version 2.6.1 released Sep 2, 2010
Requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 or Mac OS X 10.6.x; Rosetta
Compatible with Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.
Application Enhancer (APE) is a system used in our and third-party products that helps them to enhance and redefine various applications behavior running on your system.

What exactly is Application Enhancer? It is a combination of a Framework and a system daemon. Application Enhancer performs its task by loading plugins (Application Enhancer modules) containing executable code into the running applications. Once loaded, the APE module performs the needed modifications (such as redefining the minimize window action, or customizing the standard Apple menu) on the launched application memory space, never touching any files on disk, utilizing set of functions defined in the Application Enhancer framework. To help the APE modules to be loaded into newly launched applications, the Application Enhancer daemon (aped) is used.

Why? First of all, to reuse code. This helps us and other developers to save time, disk space and network bandwidth by including a set of commonly used methods in one place, which can be easily upgraded. Second, to preserve compatibility - every now and then a need for one or another product with the functionality Application Enhancer provides arises. To avoid the unnecessary clutter on your system (various approaches to do the same thing all running at the same time incur potential problems) there is now Application Enhancer along with the Software Development Kit available for any developers interested in the technology at reasonable price, or completely free, depending on the type of the project. Third - to allow the APE modules to initialize before the application launched is actually started executing its code, allowing the Application Enhancer module to do the proper setup.

Can Application Enhancer or its modules crash your system? Application Enhancer itself is not known to have ever caused a crash itself. However, APE modules potentially can crash individual applications if there is a bug in the module or in the application being modified (sometimes APE modules expose "hidden" bugs in the applications). However, there is a number of technologies incorporated into our products that attempt to make sure your applications are safe: Haxie CrashGuard makes sure the application is not modified if it has recently crashed; APE Check makes sure no damaged APE modules are loaded; also, all of our products go through a tedious beta testing process to make sure it runs as expected. However, even if an individual application crashes, this cannot bring down the whole system due to the fact it has the protected memory and the Application Enhancer operates in user memory space, which means it cannot affect the system itself or processes belonging to other users (in this regard, Kernel Extensions (kext) are much more dangerous as they operate on the lowest possible level and have access to all memory and processes; because of that, Kernel Extensions can cause "kernel panics", while Application Enhancer cannot, as they don't have access to the kernel memory space). If you suspect Application Enhancer or its modules cause crashes, you can always temporary disable the Application Enhancer system using the preference pane. If the crashes persist, then likely it is not caused by Application Enhancer. If not, please contact us at urgent@unsanity.com and we will investigate the problem as soon as possible.

Does Application Enhancer slow down the system? Due to the fact that more code has to be loaded at the application launch time, Application Enhancer can increase the application launch time (usually in the range of 40-60 ms per Application Enhancer module loaded on a modern Mac). Once loaded, most Application Enhancer modules stay latent and will not hog your processor. We are constantly working on improving the situation, so please make sure you always run the latest versions of our products.

The technology behind Application Enhancer system has been in research and development for more than 4 years now, and many of our products are using it.

Features:

  • Provides capabilities to use Application Enhancer modules.
  • Completely free of charge*.
* Application Enhancer system is completely free for you - we believe we are opening a whole lot of possibilities for other developers to enhance Mac OS X further, so we're not charging you, the end user, for all the exciting things Application Enhancer allows developers to do. While the Application Enhancer system is free, individual modules may not be, depending on module developer's decision.

If you need to install Application Enhancer on Mac OS X 10.4, get an older version here.

Developers wishing to develop Application Enhancers may proceed to the Application Enhancer SDK page.

More information? Suggestions? Ideas for Application Enhancer modules? Contact us!

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