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Resource Editing, Rezilla & Helix
What is a resource editor?

There are a number of modifications that can be made to the Helix programs by modifying resources. Resources are small files that are stored in the resource fork of an application or file. Resources typically control specific behaviors of an application and by editing them, you can customize the way an application works.

Resources have been de-emphasized in macOS, but Helix still relies on them. This is the situation we inherited when we acquired the Helix product family. We are working to move these settings into a "preferences" dialog, but until that is finished, modifying the behavior of Helix in these ways requires a resource editor.

Editable resources

The complete list of resources that are available for end user modification is found on this page.

About Rezilla

Rezilla is an open source resource editor for macOS. Resources are internal bits of code or other types of instructions that a program reads in order to function. By modifying these resources you can change the behavior of a program.

There are other resource editors available for the Macintosh as well. Examples on this web site use Rezilla primarily because it is macOS native and it is free. You can download Rezilla here.

If you want to purchase a professional level resource editor, any of them will work. One particularly good one is Resourcer from Mathemaesthetics.

Editing resources

Helix applications are created in ‘package’ format, with the resources being found in a file within the package. If you are familiar with package manipulation, you can open the application package, navigate to the resource, and drag/drop it onto Rezilla. For those less technical, here are instructions:

  1. Launch Rezilla.
  2. Select Open from the file menu.
  3. Navigate to (a copy of) the Helix application you want to edit. When you select the application, Rezilla will show you the contents of the application package. The path to follow to the resources is:

    Contents -> Resources -> application.rsrc

    (Replace application with the name of the Helix program you are editing.)

    (In Helix Server macOS 6.0, the path is Contents -> MacOSClassic -> Helix Server macOS)

  4. Click Open.
  5. In the window that opens, locate the resource type to be edited.
  6. Click the disclosure triangle next to the resource.

  7. Locate the specific ID of of the resource to be edited.
  8. Double-click directly on one of the two numbers. The editor window opens.

  9. Make your changes, click Save, and close the window.
  10. Choose Save from the file menu.
  11. Quit Rezilla.
About resource IDs

Within each resource type, there are one or more distinct resources, identified by a resource ID. Each ID is associated with a particular function within the program code. When changing a behavior in Helix, you must be careful to edit the resource with the correct ID for the function you are trying to change.

Do not change resource IDs! A missing resource can result in crashes or wrong behavior by Helix.

Using templates

Rezilla can also present resource data in a user friendly format, if a resource template is available. A template describes the layout of a specific resource, enabling Rezilla (or any resource editor) to format the data for easy reading. Here is a picture of the same resource shown in Step 8 above, using a template.

Installing templates

Rezilla requires that templates be placed in a specific folder (~/Library/Application Support/Rezilla/Templates/) on your computer or it can not use them. Here are step by step instructions for setting this up:

  1. Quit Rezilla if it is running.
  2. Open your home folder. (In the Finder choose Home from the Go menu.)
  3. In there, open the Library folder.
  4. Open the Application Support folder.
  5. Create a new folder in there named Rezilla, if one does not already exist.
  6. Open the Rezilla folder.
  7. Create a new folder in there named Templates, if one does not already exist.
  8. Copy your templates into this folder.
  9. Relaunch Rezilla.

All of the templates we offer for download are packaged in zip, hqx, or sit format. Be sure to expand downloaded templates before putting them in the templates folder or they will not work.

Acquiring templates

A single file (‘Helix_templates’) containing the user editable resources in Helix 6.1 products can be downloaded here. Just place the (un-zipped) template in the templates folder (see above) and relaunch Rezilla.

If you still have the Expert Tools folder from the Helix Express 4.x days, the Resources file found in that folder contains many templates that work with Classic Helix products. Just copy this file into your templates folder (see above) and relaunch Rezilla.

Some individual templates are available from our FTP server or maybe through your web browser. These are mostly legacy files, as they are either obsolete or incorporated into the ‘Helix_templates’ file. We have no plans to add to this list.

Specific tutorials

Specific tutorials are available for editing some resource types. See the Editable Resource List for links to those technotes.