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Enterprise Mac Managed Preferences by Greg Neagle, Edward Marczak

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Chapter 4. Property List Files

The property list file format (.plist) is at the heart of many operations in Mac OS X. As a well-structured XML document, the .plist format is easy to parse programmatically. The format is important to understand, as Apple's preferences are currently stored in .plist files (however, Apple makes no guarantees of this format going forward). Not coincidentally, Managed Preferences are stored and delivered in a formatted .plist file, too. There are several tools available on Mac OS X that allow you to work with .plist files. These include Property List Editor.app and the plutil, defaults, and PlistBuddy command-line tools. Because .plist is the native format for Managed Preferences, it's essential for an administrator ...

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