A custom application provides a user with a familiar and easy to use interface when interacting with complex AppleScripts, further increasing the efficiency of workflow automation and user acceptance.
Custom interfaces can contain any number of individual control elements you see in Mac OS X applications, including:
- Browser Views
- Color Wells
- Combo Box
- Disclosure Arrows
- Image Boxes
- Outline Views
- Popup Menus
- Progress Indicators
- Radio Buttons
- Search Fields
- Tab Views
- Text fields
Collect User Input
A custom applications interface can contain any number and type of user input controls to make it easier to use than a traditional AppleScript. Instead of an annoying sequence of dialogs, each limited to three buttons and one text field for collecting input, a custom app can present the user with a single dialog window containing every available option for performing the specific task.
This window presents a greater number of options all at once and can vary the experience depending on the choices selected. For example, if a user selects a season of “Spring” from one popup menu, the list of available months can change to only reflect relevant options. Individual controls can be hidden, change completely or be disabled depending on the context of other selections.
Users will appreciate the ability to indicate their desired settings and perform the automated process much faster than with a traditional AppleScript.
Display Progress & Feedback
With an interface, an application can provide the user with important feedback including a graphical progress bar with quick, visual indication of how far along in a process the script has traversed and what material or functions remain to be processed or performed.
It can include as much information as needed, such as multiple progress bars. A script that processes images found in a number of different folders could have two progress bars, one showing which folder is being worked on and another showing the images being processed within that folder. With more information available, the user will have a clear understanding of the current status of the process and how much work remains.
A custom application can present a status or feedback dialog with as much information that can fit on a window. A log of activity that the script performed could be displayed including errors that occurred or a list of available followup actions can be presented offering the user the ability to quickly start the desired next task in a complex workflow.
Intuitive Drag and Drop
A custom application can allow the user to drop folders or files onto its icon and, after collecting user-input, process those items. They can allow a user to drag and drop items within the interface. Information displayed in a table or outline view can be easily reordered by using drag and drop.
Define Custom Document Types
An application can define a custom document type with its own file extension allowing the user to create documents for their specialized work. Label instructions, catalog build profiles, file handling options, and more can all be defined as a special document type. This allows the user to manage these files like any other document-based application. A user can create, open, edit, save, and save as, print and more. Complex script configurations can be easily saved into a document and be easily reused. Duplicate and modify to save time or share script configurations with co-workers by simply emailing the document. When they double click it, it launches in the copy of the custom application installed on their computer. Document-based custom applications offer a new dimension to any custom workflow solution.
Include Integrated Help & Instruction
Adding an interface allows an application to display textual elements on a layout that remind the user about procedures or explain what functions an interface element performs. It can even include a full help guide. This reduces the learning curve for new users and relieves the burden of remembering numerous specialized business rules or knowledge of the functions of the script and let’s them refocus on using the tool to get their work done.
User Customizable Preferences
Custom applications can be developed with preferences that allow users to take control of various functions and personalize the experience.