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A class which performs polling to determine the newly copied url of desired kind in an external app
// PasteboardWatcher.swift
// PasteboardWatcher
// Created by Devarshi Kulshreshtha on 6/19/15.PasteboardWatcher
// Copyright © 2015 Devarshi Kulshreshtha. All rights reserved.
import Cocoa
/// Protocol defining the methods which delegate has/ can implement
protocol PasteboardWatcherDelegate {
/// the method which is invoked on delegate when a new url of desired kind is copied
/// - Parameter copiedUrl: the newly copied url of desired kind
func newlyCopiedUrlObtained(copiedUrl copiedUrl : NSURL)
/// Use this class to notify a delegate once a url with specified kind is copied
/// - Credit goes to: **Josh Goebel**
/// - His wonderful pastie: [PasteboardWatcher in objective-c](
class PasteboardWatcher : NSObject {
// assigning a pasteboard object
private let pasteboard = NSPasteboard.generalPasteboard()
// to keep track of count of objects currently copied
// also helps in determining if a new object is copied
private var changeCount : Int
// used to perform polling to identify if url with desired kind is copied
private var timer: NSTimer?
// the delegate which will be notified when desired link is copied
var delegate: PasteboardWatcherDelegate?
// the kinds of files for which if url is copied the delegate is notified
private let fileKinds : [String]
/// initializer which should be used to initialize object of this class
/// - Parameter fileKinds: an array containing the desired file kinds
init(fileKinds: [String]) {
// assigning current pasteboard changeCount so that it can be compared later to identify changes
changeCount = pasteboard.changeCount
// assigning passed desired file kinds to respective instance variable
self.fileKinds = fileKinds
/// starts polling to identify if url with desired kind is copied
/// - Note: uses an NSTimer for polling
func startPolling () {
// setup and start of timer
timer = NSTimer.scheduledTimerWithTimeInterval(2, target: self, selector: Selector("checkForChangesInPasteboard"), userInfo: nil, repeats: true)
/// method invoked continuously by timer
/// - Note: To keep this method as private I referred this answer at stackoverflow - [Swift - NSTimer does not invoke a private func as selector](
@objc private func checkForChangesInPasteboard() {
// check if there is any new item copied
// also check if kind of copied item is string
if let copiedString = pasteboard.stringForType(NSPasteboardTypeString) where pasteboard.changeCount != changeCount {
// obtain url from copied link if its path extension is one of the desired extensions
if let fileUrl = NSURL(string: copiedString) where self.fileKinds.contains(fileUrl.pathExtension!){
// invoke appropriate method on delegate
self.delegate?.newlyCopiedUrlObtained(copiedUrl: fileUrl)
// assign new change count to instance variable for later comparison
changeCount = pasteboard.changeCount
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mizlan commented Apr 16, 2021

I guess I can just avoid coercing it into an NSURL

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Daemon-Devarshi commented Apr 25, 2021 via email

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