Remarkably powerful and versatile menu bar enhancer that relies on plugins you can create yourself or get from other repositories
There are countless apps that bring additional functionality to the menu bar or customize it in various ways. Most of the simpler ones aren’t that difficult to create, and apps like BitBar and SwiftBar can show the output of a shell script in the menu bar, making the process even more straightforward.
SwiftBar is very similar to BitBar, but is it more user-friendly and comes with an in-app plugin repository that makes installing plugins much easier for non-technical users. It is also being actively developed and improved, whereas BitBar has not been updated regularly for some time.
How it works
The app takes shell scripts written in various languages and displays their output in the menu bar. For a script to be executed, you need to place it in the plugin folder you will configure when launching the app for the first time.
The easiest way to get new plugins is via the app’s built-in plugin repository, which features an intuitive GUI and organizes scripts into various relevant categories. You can view short descriptions for each plugin, as well as their dependencies.
Install menu bar plugins or create your own
While the in-app repository makes installing scripts a lot easier, you should keep in mind that they have various dependencies based on their programming language or function. Some require Python, Node.js, Ruby, or other software to be installed, while others need API tokens. Plugins from the BitBar repository are also fully compatible.
You can also take a crack at creating plugins yourself. It shouldn’t be too difficult if you have a bit of coding knowledge, and there are detailed instructions available on the project’s GitHub page.
Anything you want in your menu bar
Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, your imagination is the only limit. There are plugins for music playback, controlling system functions, seeing how many people are in space at any given time, tracking recent earthquakes, providing you with dad jokes, and the list goes on.
SwiftBar is a great tool for users who like menu bar customization or want to enhance it with some additional functionality. It’s easy to use and incredibly versatile, whether you want to create your own plugins or use existing ones.