Standalone doesn't play nice with MacOS services

I frequently use MacOS services to clean up text and this is especially useful in Zotero. For example, I can reset title capitalization to use sentence case instead of all-caps. Unfortunately the standalone doesn't work well with this.

For example if I right-click on title text, I get no services in the contextual menu. If I go to the Zotero menu and try to access Services from them, sometimes I get them, but they seem to act on the clipboard text, not on the selected text of the title. Copying the title text from the standalone doesn't help.

So I wonder if there's something to be done to improve the situation.

  • Do they work any better in Firefox?

    If I click on the Title field and type "Test" and then select it, I'm able to use, e.g., "Look up in Dictionary" or "Search With Google".

    Do you have example of a service we can test that's not working properly for you?
  • I’m talking about the standalone. I don't use FireFox with Zotero except to add entries via the add-on.

    As I said, **none** of the services are available if I right-click on text in a Zotero entry, which is one problem. A specific one I use a lot to clean up capitalization is DevonThink's WordService:

    Some services do work and even these will occasionally, but they're not reliable, in my experience. Again, the capitalization one will often seem to be working on the clipboard text, but that's also not consistent.

  • We understand you're talking about standalone. The reason Dan asks whether it works in Firefox is because Zotero standalone actually is a stripped Firefox under the hood, with stuff added to make it Zotero. Knowing whether this is an issue that affects Firefox too is relevant information, because then Dan and his team can concentrate his search for the problem on either the parts it shares with Firefox, or the parts that they built on top of it.
  • I get that. My point was that I don’t have Zotero installed on Firefox, just the connector add-on.
  • edited January 18, 2020
    I know you don't have Zotero installed on the program you recognize as Firefox, as that would be impossible. What I'm saying is that if you would say that you have Firefox and Zotero installed on one computer, I would know that you in fact have two Firefox-based programs on that computer; one which implements a browser, which you call Firefox, and one that implements a citation manager, which you call Zotero.

    Zotero standalone can for present purposes best be described as a separate installation of Firefox with the "Zotero plugin" inseparably bundled. In these terms it makes no sense to say that anyone would install Zotero on Firefox, because that would mean you would have to install the "Zotero plugin" into Firefox, and install that bundle into another Firefox.

    I don't know how to explain this better. In any case, Dan's request about how MacOS services works with the program that you call Firefox is a relevant request in the diagnosis of the problem, and you can help him help you by simply performing a simple test.
  • I feel like this is escalating into something. I’m reporting a bug here. I use zotero and promote it all the time with my students and colleagues. Not looking for a fight.

    I’m confused about the request regarding Firefox. I thought it originally referred to using Zotero within Firefox, which I don’t, so that’s not something trivial for me to do. If it’s about services within Firefox more generally, sure I can try that and will when next at my machine.

  • I don't think it's escalating, and I don't think it needs to. I'm trying to explain why Dan's request is relevant to the diagnosis of the problem you're experiencing.

    It's indeed about services within Firefox more generally. That will tell whether the problem lies in the Firefox base, or in the stuff that zotero builds on top of it.
  • For clarity, I am not part of the Zotero team, and do not speak on behalf of Dan or any of the other developers. If I caused unrest, that's on me, not on Dan and the others.
  • edited January 18, 2020
    Apparently FireFox itself doesn't support contextual-menu Services. See which likely explains why Zotero doesn't.

    However Zotero often shows a limited Service menu under the app menu (/Zotero/Services) when text is selected, whereas FireFox doesn't not. This is very variable within Zotero. Sometimes I get the full Services menu and it works, and sometimes I don't.

    For example, here's a screen shot showing limited Services when I clink into an item, select the title text, and go to the menu:

    Here's the same entry after I do a few things after selecting the item. The full services appear.
  • I wonder whether that's related to whether the UI you're interact with is constructed using overlays or that it's generated using react. Going far out on a limb here, this is really not my area of expertise. Dan will know much better.
  • edited January 18, 2020
    However Zotero often shows a limited Service menu under the app menu (/Zotero/Services) when text is deleted, whereas FireFox doesn't not. This is very variable within Zotero. Sometimes I get the full Services menu and it works, and sometimes I don't.
    No, it's just the same thing. Everything Emiliano said it correct. Zotero is a modification of the Firefox runtime, so they should work the same, which is why I asked you to try Firefox itself. (Zotero hasn't existed as something you can run within Firefox in over two years — there's only a standalone version.) I get a variable Services menu in both Firefox and Zotero, with no obvious pattern for when it shows and when it doesn't. My question was really whether it works any worse for you in Zotero. If it works better, that doesn't really do much for us, and might just be that you haven't managed to trigger all the variability in each program yet. There could also be version differences, since Zotero is built on Firefox 60 ESR, though I'm seeing things like "Look up in Dictionary" and "Search With Google" — variably — in both Zotero and the Firefox 73 ESR, and they work in both.

    So this isn't going to be something we can improve at the current time.
  • edited January 18, 2020
    At the risk of adding my weight to an already creaking limb, without (or outside of) firefox or Zotero Mac services sometimes do not function for me within all/any of my software.

    edited for clarity
  • Thanks for checking. I find Services very reliable, but I don’t use Firefox except for Zotero-related things, so doing a lot of work to check how services work in it isn’t easy for me. I will say that its inability to work like other Mac apps is part of why I keep using Safari
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