In the early 1990s, I was working as a Computer Network and Telecommunications Manager at the New York City headquarters of a company now known as Jack Morton Worldwide. In addition to my other responsibilities, I was tasked with creating FileMaker Pro databases to help manage the office’s information. At that time, FileMaker was still somewhat crude, as it had been since I began using it in the late 1980s.
During this time, I learned how to program HyperCard and was having a lot of fun building custom applications. Then I received a copy of the AppleScript Developer’s Toolkit and Scripting Kit, an add-on piece of software for the Macintosh Operating System. I began converting the HyperTalk scripts in my applications to AppleScript. Almost immediately HyperCard was relegated to my archives in favor of AppleScript.
This was still a year or two before the Internet exploded in popularity. Finding documentation and sample scripts was difficult, and very few applications supported scripting. These difficulties led to many frustrating and yet rewarding, struggles to figure out how to successfully automate one task after another. However, as support for scripting spread out into the Mac OS and in third-party software, it became clear that workflow automation on a Mac was going to be a huge phenomenon.
This was a driving factor in my founding Write Track Media in 1994 to specialize in the development of workflow automation solutions. Since that time, I have worked with many wonderful clients in a variety of different industries. Many times since then, I have entertained the notion of writing a book on AppleScript. Some of the techniques and ideas that I used daily, many created out of the necessity of the moment, felt good enough to share. Believing that good ideas only become great when they are shared with others was a driving factor that led me to avail myself of the opportunity to write this book.
I tried to structure this book to appeal to programmers of any skill level, including those who have never programmed before. By starting with the basics and gradually working toward more advanced material, I hoped to make this book beneficial to all. It is laced with advice, ideas, and techniques gleaned from years of trial and error. Hopefully, you will find these useful and encouraging in your future automation endeavors.
AppleScript is a wonderful language to know and is powerful enough to automate virtually any task. It was a rewarding experience to focus on the language in a systematic fashion while writing this book. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have writing it.
Mark Conway Munro