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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 at 8:00

5 Answers 5

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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CC@~ $ lsappinfo info -only bundleid Finder "CFBundleIdentifier"=""

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