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Potential approach for address book large-type window problems in Snow Leopard

The Address Book Dashboard widget may not display full-screen text when you click a field such as a contact's phone number.

Yesterday we discussed a problem where people were not able to invoke the large-type window for displaying full-screen contact information via the Address Book dashboard widget. While one possibility could be the aforementioned problems with the widget and Dashboard itself, since this problem has to do only with the Address Book widget for many people it indicates an error with the Address Book components, including the framework, the Address Book application, and the widget itself.

Several people have submitted console output which show the system failing to invoke the "ABLargeTypeController" class, which is a function in the Address Book framework for displaying the large text on the screen. It seems the crux of this problem is that this controller function is defined both in the widget as well as in the framework, and the system tries only using one so when the other is called. One possibility for this is that the behavior of how these functions are used has changed between 10.5 and 10.6, but if upon upgrading to Snow Leopard not all components of the frameworks have been replaced then the old code may still be loading; however, without knowing about the specifics of the Address Book code this would be difficult to figure out for certain.

Regardless of how the bug is manifesting, the Address Book widget components do work in several Snow Leopard systems I have tested, including my own. This indicates it's possibly fixable by reinstalling the Address Book application, the widget, and the framework. Since upgrading may have left some of these components (or files in them) unchanged, before replacing them with the following process be sure to remove them from your system so they are installed fresh.

To do this, use Pacifist (from CharlesSoft) and open the Snow Leopard DVD. Allow it to scan for packages and then follow these steps for each component:

Address Book Widget

  1. Locate the widget on your drive in /Macintosh HD/Library/Widgets/
  2. Right-click and "Compress" to back it up in the same folder
  3. Delete the widget
  4. Open "Pacifist" and locate the following package:

    "Contents of EssentialSystemSoftware" → "Contents of AdditionalEssentials.pkg" → Library → Widgets → AddressBook.wdgt

  5. Highlight "AddressBook.wdgt" and click "Install"

Address Book Framework

  1. Locate the framework in /Macintosh HD/System/Library/Frameworks/
  2. Compress the framework as a backup
  3. Delete the uncompressed framework
  4. Open "Pacifist" and locate the following package:

    "Contents of EssentialSystemSoftware" → "Contents of EssentialSystemSoftwareGroup" → "Contents of Essentials.pkg" → System → Library → Frameworks → AddressBook.framework

  5. Highlight "AddressBook.framework" and click "Install"

Address Book Application

  1. Locate the application in /Macintosh HD/Applications/
  2. Compress it as a backup
  3. Delete the application
  4. Open "Pacifist" and locate the following package:

    "Contents of EssentialSystemSoftware" → "Contents of EssentialSystemSoftwareGroup" → "Contents of AddressBook.pkg"

  5. Highlight "Contents of AddressBook.pkg" and click "Install"

These three steps should replace the respective components on the system, and upon rebooting you should have the frameworks installed as they were distributed on the Snow Leopard DVD. The components here have not been updated in the 10.6.1 system update, so performing these steps will not downgrade any of the components. If this does not work, then the problem is more hidden and unless a fix surfaces the easiest approach would be to perform a clean install of OS X. Be sure to back up your hard drive before doing this, and then boot from the Snow Leopard DVD and use Disk Utility to erase the hard drive. Run the installer and boot into your system, and then migrate your personal data from your backup to the computer to preserve as many settings as possible. For best compatibility I recommend using Time Machine for this, but a cloned drive should also work.

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