How to Get started with BitBar
1 Create a folder
On first starting up BitBar, it’ll display a dialog box so you can decide where its plug-ins will be stored. Create a new folder in your chosen location (perhaps one called BitBar in your Documents folder) and click Use as Plugins Directory.
2 Activate BitBar
You should now see BitBar in the menu bar. Right now, it doesn’t do an awful lot — you can click to open its menu and change the plug-ins folder, set the app to open at login, or quit it entirely. We need to install some plug-ins!
3 Check out plug-ins
In BitBar’s menu, click Get Plugins. You’ll be sent back to the website you downloaded the app from. Let’s start with a plug-in for quickly rating iTunes tracks. In the Music section (on the left), find iTunes Rating.
4 Install the plug-in
Click Add to BitBar under the plug-in and a confirmation dialog will appear. Click Install. In the menu bar, the ‘BitBar’ text will be replaced by the plug-in’s icon. If iTunes isn’t open, this will be a musical note — click it and choose Launch iTunes.
5 Use the plug-in
Prior to iTunes playing, the widget might register an error, but as soon as you play a track, the widget should show the corresponding star rating. You can update this by clicking the stars in the menu bar and choosing a new rating.
6 Install a timer
From the Time section of BitBar’s website, install the Pomodoro Timer plug‑in. When activated by choosing Work from its menu, it starts a 25-minute countdown that cycles with three-minute breaks to keep you focussed.
7 Power up the Clipboard
From the System section, install Clipboard History. This places a clipboard icon in the menu bar. Click it and you can access the last ten pieces of text or links you copied. To send an item back to the Clipboard, just choose it from the menu.
8 A ‘Now playing’ widget
From Music, install Adam Kenyon’s ‘Now playing’ plug-in. When music’s playing, this displays the track name, making it a handy companion to the rating plug-in. Open its menu to access playback controls and artist info.
9 Edit a plug-in
Open BitBar’s plug-ins folder (pick Preferences > Open Plugin Folder from any BitBar plug-in’s menu) and then open the nowplaying.sh script in a text editor. In the output section, find the part that starts echo "$track | length=40". 10 Make some changes After the opening quote, add
$artist: and save the file. You should now see the artist and track name in the menu bar, to a maximum of 40 characters as stipulated in the script — you can change that too, if you like.
11 Get a currency tracker
In Finance, install Currency Tracker. By default, this cycles through how many US and Canadian dollars you get for a Euro. In BitBar’s plug-ins folder, open currency-tracker.py in your text editor and find the currFrom and currTo values.
12 Edit currency settings
To set a new base comparison currency, change currFrom’s EUR to something else (say, GBP). Then update the currTo list as you like. Save, then pick Preferences > Refresh all from BitBar’s menu. Your new settings will be applied.