“I think it’s safe to say that Apple Computer, Inc. makes the best one-button mouse in the world. Yes indeed, Apple’s Pro Mouse is truly a joy to use … for about five minutes. After that, most folks over the age of five unplug the thing, put it in a drawer and hook up a two-, three-, four-, or five-button mouse so that they can get some real work done,” Steven Disbrow writes for MacDevCenter.
“Given Apple’s recent attempts to woo Windows users to the Mac platform, it’s a wonder that Apple still doesn’t offer a mouse with two (or more) buttons, not even as an option for ‘switchers.’ This would be a very smart move because if there’s one thing that Window users love, it’s right-clicking on things,” Disbrow writes. “You see, in Windows, clicking the second (also called the ‘right’) mouse button on an object almost always brings up a special menu containing options directly related to the object on which you are right-clicking. For example, right-clicking on a disk will bring up a menu allowing you to format the disk, eject the disk (if it’s a removable disk), or rename the disk, among other options. These special menus are called contextual menus because their contents depend on the context in which they were invoked. (For example, you get a slightly different menu if you right-click on a folder rather than a disk.)”
Disbrow writes, “Now, it’s true that the Mac OS has had the ability to pull up a contextual menu or two for a while now. (I believe it was Mac OS 8 that introduced this ability.) But with Apple selling us nothing but one-button mice and forcing us to hold down the Control key when clicking (called “control-clicking”) to invoke a contextual menu, or to install special drivers to use a two-button mouse, it’s always seemed more of a “Me too!” implementation than a real attempt to catch up with this very cool Windows feature. Fortunately, with the release of Mac OS X, that changed in a big way!”
Disbrow goes into Mac OS X Contextual Menus in some depth here and, in Part 2 of the article coming Tuesday, he’ll show you how to create your own contextual menu items using Apple’s Xcode.