Generic Icons


SAS 6.12 Update

SAS 6.12 knows about a lot more file types and has a whole new suite of icons. A complete list of the file types SAS recognizes is available in the Release Notes for version 6.12. The installation seems to do a much better job of assigning type and creator codes correctly. You may have to rebuild the desktop before the proper icons show up.

The Problem

Recently I installed SAS for the Macintosh and noticed something peculiar--other than the application programs themselves, most of the files installed by SAS had generic icons. This included sample data sets, catalogs, and other files for which SAS does define special icons.

Type and Creator Codes

A brief explanation of how the Mac knows what icon to put where: each file has two four-character codes associated with it. One indicates which application created the file, and the other tells what type of file it is. Each application program contains its own icons and a set of instructions (a BNDL resource) which tells the Mac which icon goes with which file type. The Mac reads this information from the application and stores it in the hidden Desktop file.

A little probing showed where my SAS file icons had gone--while the SAS application has icons and a BNDL resource, most of the data and catalog files installed by the SAS installer have the wrong creator and file type. With the exception of the applications themselves, all files created by the installer are of type "BIN " (binary data) and creator "A/UX" (Apple's old implementation of Unix, which was used to develop SAS for the Mac). While new data and catalog files created by the Mac will have the correct type and creator, the preinstalled files do not.

(Another similar situation comes when you transfer files between systems. SAS files can be exchanged between the Mac and a number of Unix platforms (Sun and HP for catalogs and data files, AIX for data files only) without conversion. But while these files can be moved via FTP, this transfer will not create the correct file type and creator codes on the Mac.)


The Solution

If you want to get the correct icons, either for the files installed by SAS or for files transferred from other Unix hosts, you need to change the files to have the correct type and creator codes. This can be done using ResEdit or other programs, one file at a time, but this is cumbersome. The easiest way is to use a shareware program called Drop*Attribute (if you do, please register!). This lets you use drag and drop to process a group of files as a batch, and lets you specify a translation table to specify the type and creator codes you want associated with particular filename extensions.

For all SAS files, the creator code should be "SaS6". Note the lowercase "a"--these codes are case-sensitive.

File Type Conversion Table

For the type codes, you need the following mappings:

Extension     Type
 .ssd01  ==>  BDAT   (Binary DATa)
 .ssp01  ==>  BPGM   (Binary ProGraM)
 .sct01  ==>  BCAT   (Binary CATalog)
 .snx01  ==>  BNDX   (Binary iNDeX)
 .ssv01  ==>  BVEW   (Binary ViEW)
 .ssa01  ==>  BACC   (Binary ACCess descriptor file)
 .sas    ==>  TEXT   (TEXT file)

SAS also knows about and has icons for some other files, although these don't have obvious mappings:


Some Notes

SAS TEXT files

Note that for some reason, SAS doesn't specify an icon for its TEXT files. This can only be fixed by using ResEdit to modify the SAS application itself.

Options Editor Files

The SAS Options Editor saves its options as a TEXT file, but it uses its own creator code for those option files. This gives them an icon normally associated with TeachText PICT files. This is a little misleading; the file it creates is a normal text file which can be edited in any text editor (including the built-in SAS editor).


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