Helix PubSub Finder

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What is Helix PubSub Finder?

Helix PubSub (Publish and Subscribe) Finder is an AppleScript utility that can examine a Helix collection for use of the Publish and Subscribe commands.

Why it Exists

Apple has dropped support for Publish and Subscribe in OS X, and support for it has been removed from Helix 6.0, the first OS X native Helix.

When a collection is updated to Helix 6.0, all instances of Publish and Subscribe commands are quietly removed from the collection. In Helix Publish and Subscribe commands can be placed in custom user menus and in sequences.

Removing those commands has no serious effect on user icons (they simply have fewer commands than they used to), but a Publish and Subscribe command in a sequence is put there to provide a specific function. That function will no longer work and although other commands in such a sequence do continue to work, the Publish and Subscribe related steps will be missing, and the sequence will not work as it did before, leading to unexpected results.

Helix PubSub Finder was created to give you an easy way to thoroughly check your collections for the existence of Publish and Subscribe commands.


To install Helix PubSub Finder, just drag it and the companion application "Helix Scripting Demo" onto your hard drive. (If you own a copy of CallHelix 2.0 you already have the "Helix Scripting" application and you can ignore the demo application, but you must have one form of Helix Scripting or the other for Helix PubSub Finder to work.

This installation package also includes a link to a third party scripting addition (OSAX) called "24U Appearance OSAX." Installing this OSAX is optional, but when installed, Helix PubSub Finder can provide much better feedback as the exam progresses. You do not need to purchase a license for 24U Appearance OSAX: Helix PubSub Finder carries its own registration code. Nonetheless, if you are an AppleScript user, I highly recommend 24U Appearance OSAX.

How to Use Helix PubSub Finder

Just drag and drop one or more Helix Collections onto it. (You can also double click Helix PubSub Finder and select a collection from the Open dialog box.)

Once the collection status has been verified a Save dialog box appears. Helix PubSub Finder creates a report for each collection it examines. Name and save the text file according to your personal preferences.

After you have specified where to save the report, Helix PubSub Finder starts examining the collection(s) for instances of the Publish and Subscribe commands. If you have 24U Appearance OSAX installed, a progress thermometer keep you apprised of what is happening. If you do not have 24U Appearance OSAX installed, dialog boxes appear on screen so you can tell something is happening. (These dialog boxes self-dismiss in one second, allowing the program to run unattended.)

When the exam is complete, a summary of what was found is presented. Details are found in the saved report. See below for details on the report format.

If you drag/dropped multiple collections onto Helix PubSub Finder, the process repeats for each valid collection. Note that you must be present to name each exam report. Other than that, the program runs unattended, unless errors are encountered.

About Speed

The time required for Helix PubSub Finder to examine a collection depends on many factors. Obviously the speed of the machine is important. Beyond that, the primary factor is the number of icons in the main collection window. Helix PubSub Finder must search through the main collection 'object' and sort out the users and sequences. Relations are ignored since you can not embed a Publish and Subscribe command in relations or any of the icons found in them.

Users are harder to examine, as each menu is a distinct entity in Helix and they must be searched one by one. Sequences are straightforward and can be searched quickly.

I think Helix PubSub Finder is pretty fast, but if you don't know what to expect, here are some benchmarks:

On a G4/733 running OS 9.2.2, a collection with 900 collection icons (100 users and 667 sequences) is checked in under 4 minutes. A collection with 244 collection icons (7 users and 130 sequences) is checked in 34 seconds.


Helix PubSub Finder only works with Helix collections from version 5.2 to 5.3.2. If you attempt to examine an earlier (or later) collection, a warning is displayed and the collection will not be checked.

If you want to check older Helix collections, you can download the Helix 5.3 Update Collection from the QSA ToolWorks web site, make copies of your collections, update the copies to Helix 5.3, and check your collections, but if you are planning on updating to Helix 6, you really should upgrade to Helix 5.3. You'll get a reduced price on the upgrade to Helix 6 and you will be using the latest, most compatible version of Helix available.


Helix PubSub Finder 1.0 is freeware. It is provided by Autograph Systems. If you find this program useful, think kindly of us and maybe buy something from the web store. Autograph Systems is an Authorized Apple Reseller.

Helix PubSub Finder may be freely distributed, as long as the entire package, including this documentation, is included with it.


Current information about the transition to Helix 6 can be found at the QSA ToolWorks web site at

Report Format

The exam report is formatted as a tab delimited file, most suitable for viewing with a spreadsheet. The user icon exam results are listed first, followed by the sequence icon results.

  1. Column 1 is purely informational, containing lines like "Start User List" and "End User List" that to help identify the icons.
  2. Column 2 is the name of each icon. Icons are listed in the order they are found in the collection, not in alphabetical order. (I could have sorted them, but that would have meant downloading another OSAX, etc...)
  3. Columns 3-x are the commands found in that icon. If no Publish and Subscribe commands are found column 3 contains the word "OK". If Publish and Subscribe commands are found, they are listed in the order they were found in the icon, one command per column. If a command is found more than once, it is listed more than once.

Sample Report (tab delimited data)

Start User List Icon Name Status/Commands Found More Commands Found
  Matthew Publisher OptionsCreate PublisherSubscribe ToSubscriber Options
  Maintenance… OK
  OtherUser Publisher Options
  Personal… OK
End User List

Start Sequence List

Icon Name Status/Commands Found
  WebMerge OK
  Toggle Cost Display OK
  WebArchive OK
  Export.Close OK
  Add Expense Type… OK
  WebDelete OK
  Import.Close OK
  prAutoInv OK
  Search Invoice Lines… OK
End Sequence List