AppleScript is an award-winning, system-level command language that communicates with and controls script-enabled applications and other scriptable features of the Macintosh OS.
AppleScript is built into the operating system of every Macintosh computer and can be used to make things happen automatically without any user input beyond an initial click. Since most applications and features of the OS are capable of accepting AppleScript commands, it is possible to automate virtually any activity a user performs on their computer.
Custom AppleScript solutions can control activity within an application and between applications on a single computer. It can control and communicate with applications and scripts installed on a remote computer. Scripts blend separate application processes into a new, single whole that is tailored to the needs of a specific user or group of users. Depending on the chosen format and deployment option, a script can act like a new feature seamlessly integrated into the OS or like a unique and personalized application.
Scripts can control, manipulate, create, delete, edit, extract, style, communicate, integrate, detect and more. Every manual task performed on a Macintosh computer can be automated with AppleScript. They can even be made to “think” by looking at specific properties or contexts to determine the best course of action based on pre-programmed rules.
Scripts can send commands to applications to create, modify or delete objects and extract data from interfaces and documents. Virtually any action a user can take through an app’s interface, a script can also initiate.
Scripts can manipulate data in many different ways. Text or lists of information extracted from one source file can be converted, parsed or merged to prepare it for use by a another application or document.
Scripts can “watch” for new material and take action or process the new material when it appears. For example, a new set of files appearing in a specific folder or an email message can be the catalyst for a scripted action.
Scripts can communicate information to remind, alert or suggest details about a situation or a desired course of action. The information can be sent to users or other scripts through email, text messages, log files or a database.
Scripts can help to coordinate complex workflow processes with a combination of completing tasks and monitoring tasks that must be performed manually by users, taking conditional action depending on the situation it detects.
Server Side Automation
A scripted solution, such as Write Track Media’s myFactory application, can transform any computer into an automation server, watching multiple folders and other locations for material to process and run scheduled tasks.
Most of the applications you already own are able to receive AppleScript commands making them candidates for a scripted solution. A few of the most popular applications controlled by AppleScript include:
- FileMaker Pro
- Microsoft Office
- Transmit FTP
AppleScript can send UNIX Shell Script commands and call Objective-C methods, greatly extending its reach to virtually every corner of the Macintosh experience. With UI Scripting, a part of the Accessibility framework, scripts can simulate mouse clicks and keystrokes giving it the power to control applications that are not natively scriptable.
A script might be only a few lines of code to perform one simple task or it might comprise pages and pages of instructions orchestrating a complex automated process. A well designed solution can be flexible and scalable over time, allowing you to start small and gradually increase the functionality of the automation. This provides the opportunity to make a small initial investment of time and money developing a relatively simple script. Once the investment begins to pay off with increased efficiency and profits, the script can be upgraded to the next level of complexity in phased or modular approach, with each move forward paying for the next. This type of approach can ease the burden on users to plan, learn and test a new complex script by easing their way into the world of workflow automation, allowing them to gradually see the benefits increasing over time and becoming more personally invested in the process.