Learning AppleScript

I’ve been wanting to learn AppleScript, but can’t seem to find any good resources. Do any of you masterful Freeway-ers have suggestions?

It’s too bad Codecademy doesn’t have a course, I’ve been working my way through their web fundamentals and enjoying every minute!


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Hi Caleb,
I started out with AppleScript many moons ago when I saw really powerful workflow tools being created at a publishing house I worked at. I was amazed at how thee scripts could automate hugely repetitive tasks and get products to deadline in time.

Probably the best book I’ve read on the subject has to be AppleScript: The Definitive Guide (http://www.amazon.com/AppleScript-The-Definitive-Guide-Edition/dp/0596102119/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349607484&sr=8-1&keywords=applescript+the+definitive+guide) although my copy is almost seven years old now. There are a number of good resources listed here from formal training through to online communities;
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My recommendation would be to start with a good book on the subject, work your way through the chapters and routinely pull apart as many sample scripts as you can find online. When you get stuck check out the forums at MacScripter (http://macscripter.net/viewforum.php?id=2) for advice and guidance. It is also worth having a pet project that you want to create that you can use as vehicle to master your skills. In the past I’ve created tax calculators, backup tools, workflow solutions etc all to either learn from or to streamline my working life.
All the best,
Tim.

On 7 Oct 2012, at 01:28, Caleb G wrote:

I’ve been wanting to learn AppleScript, but can’t seem to find any good resources. Do any of you masterful Freeway-ers have suggestions?


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At 12:14 +0100 7/10/12, Tim Plumb wrote:

Hi Caleb,
I started out with AppleScript many moons ago when I saw really
powerful workflow tools being created at a publishing house I worked
at. I was amazed at how thee scripts could automate hugely
repetitive tasks and get products to deadline in time.

Probably the best book I’ve read on the subject has to be
AppleScript: The Definitive Guide
(http://www.amazon.com/AppleScript-The-Definitive-Guide-Edition/dp/0596102119/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349607484&sr=8-1&keywords=applescript+the+definitive+guide)
although my copy is almost seven years old now. There are a number
of good resources listed here from formal training through to online
communities;
http://allancraig.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=101:sources-for-learning-applescript&catid=40:applescript&Itemid=91

My recommendation would be to start with a good book on the subject,
work your way through the chapters and routinely pull apart as many
sample scripts as you can find online. When you get stuck check out
the forums at MacScripter
(http://macscripter.net/viewforum.php?id=2) for advice and guidance.
It is also worth having a pet project that you want to create that
you can use as vehicle to master your skills. In the past I’ve
created tax calculators, backup tools, workflow solutions etc all to
either learn from or to streamline my working life.
All the best,
Tim.

On 7 Oct 2012, at 01:28, Caleb G wrote:

I’ve been wanting to learn AppleScript, but can’t seem to find any
good resources. Do any of you masterful Freeway-ers have
suggestions?

AppleScript is designed to be relatively easy to use by
non-programmers. How successful it is a this I don’t know, but some
people do achieve a lot with it. If you’re not a programmer then the
book Tim recommends is probably as good as any.

If you are a proficient programmer already then AppleScript is not
‘just another language’. You need to approach AppleScript through a
different door to the way you approach other languages. As someone
who started programming in hex in 1969 and has been a programmer ever
since, I regard AppleScript as a last resort. When I’ve used it I’ve
not learned AppleScript but learned how to AppleScript one solution.
Next time it’s all different because the function library is context
dependent. Tim’s recommended book gives examples that help the
experienced programmer feel less stupid when they can’t work out how
to do something.

David


David Ledger - Freelance Unix Sysadmin in the UK.
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www.ivdcs.co.uk


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Thanks Tim and David!

Yes, it sounds like that would be a good book for me! ;D I’m not really a “programmer”.

As a bonus, our library has it, so I might just wander my way down there shortly.


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Apple themselves have been de-emphasizing AppleScript as a macro language in Mac OS X. The launch of Automator years ago (which uses AS under the hood, but doesn’t require you to write any) could be seen as a much-needed way to abstract the task from the language, and I think it’s quite successful at that. Also realize that there are “bridges” between Objective C (the language that Mac OS X is written in) and JavaScript, Perl, Ruby, etc. to let you do amazingly low-level things with those very high-level “scripting” languages. Apple has been letting a thousand meadows bloom here, and you can pick and choose the ways to communicate with the OS for almost any sort of scripting you need to do.

The dream of AppleScript was that it would be a “natural language” programming language, approachable by everyman.

But the hard fall of that dream was that while they used natural symbols rather than artificial ones, they overloaded them with such vigor that it became difficult for anyone – mortal or programmer – to parse out their meaning at any point in the execution of the program.

The thing about programming languages like C or Perl or Ruby is that, for all their cryptic nature and “expert” taxonomy, they are at least explicit. Once you learn the basics of how they construct an operation – what the verbs and nouns and parentheses mean – you can carry that language with you and do useful things with it. AppleScript mistook the specificity of these constructions for something they needed to fix. And missed the boat, in my opinion.

Walter

On Oct 8, 2012, at 9:20 AM, Caleb G wrote:

Thanks Tim and David!

Yes, it sounds like that would be a good book for me! ;D I’m not really a “programmer”.

As a bonus, our library has it, so I might just wander my way down there shortly.


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