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One option would be to use AppleScript:

$ osascript -e 'id of app "Finder"'

You could also do something like this:

$ bundle=$(mdfind -onlyin / kMDItemKind==Application | grep -i "/$" | head -1)
$ defaults read "$bundle/Contents/Info" CFBundleIdentifier

Both of these are fairly slow (about 0.05-0.2s on my Air) though. Are there any faster or less hacky options?

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Using defaults read seems like the right way to do it (or else querying LaunchServices via Obj-C) - why do you consider 0.1s slow? – Asmus Oct 16 '11 at 22:15
I like the osascript solution. How many times a second do you need to run this though? – arya Mar 6 '15 at 8:00

How about reading the bundle identifier from the application's Info.plist file directly using PlistBuddy (8):

/usr/libexec/PlistBuddy -c 'Print CFBundleIdentifier' /Applications/
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mdls -name kMDItemCFBundleIdentifier -r

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Values of kMDItemKind depend on the current localization.

How about this?

mdls -name kMDItemCFBundleIdentifier \
     -raw "$(mdfind "( && (kMDItemDisplayName == 'photoshop*'cdw)" | head -1)"
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up vote 0 down vote accepted

If showing all filename extensions is enabled, kMDItemDisplayName contains .app for some applications but not others. This would also escape names that contain ', ", or \:

a="Consultant's Canary"; a="${a//\'/\'}.app"; a=${a//"/\\"}; a=${a//\\/\\\\}; mdls -name kMDItemCFBundleIdentifier -raw "$(mdfind '"'"$a"'"' | head -n1)"

Another option:

a=Finder; mdls -name kMDItemCFBundleIdentifier -raw "$(mdfind | sed -E $'s|(.*/)(.*)|\\1\t\\2|' | grep -F $'\t'"$a".app -m1 | tr -d '\t')"

A single osascript command might also be faster:

osascript -e 'on run args
set output to {}
repeat with a in args
set end of output to id of app a
set text item delimiters to linefeed
output as text
end' Finder 'AppleScript Editor'
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Use lsappinfo

CC@~ $ lsappinfo info -only bundleid Finder

To get only the bundleid value, add | cut -d '"' -f4 to that command

CC@~ $ lsappinfo info -only bundleid Finder | cut -d '"' -f4

I don't know why this anwser got a downvote.

This sulotion is simple.

You don't have to handle your code with path of that Application, even the path changes.

As long as The Application is started, you got an value.

Though it is not as fast as @surry's answer, but it's fast enough.

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