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Automation on the Mac

Cory Bohon

Welcome to the first of many AppleScript and Automator "how-tos." These tips are mostly geared toward Mac users who may know a little AppleScript, but want to learn more. If you've never opened Script Editor or Automator these tips will also help you get up to speed.

First things first, what the heck is AppleScript? It is an easy-to-use and easy-to-learn programming language. AppleScript was created in the early 90s as a simple way for people to create their own custom automation programs. This is one of the reasons the Mac remains popular in the printing and creative industry, where users can take large work flows and automate them relatively quickly.

Automator was first released with Tiger and designed for users who don't have time to learn a programming language. You just drag actions together to produce a work flow, and then run it. It's that simple. The second version of Automator shipped with Mac OS X "Leopard," and it features new actions as well as a redesigned interface. I'll be showing you how to create time-saving Automator plug-ins and applications that can be used system-wide in future posts.

But how automation can benefit you and your work flow? By working more efficiently automation saves you valuable time and energy. Automation is also an easy first step into the wonderful world of Mac programming. However, automation can also be fun. Who doesn't want to make their Macs do cool things?

Before you jump into AppleScripting, you need to know a few basics. Over the next few weeks, I'll show you the basics of AppleScript and then we'll be able to move onto more advanced automation.

Stay tuned to TUAW; and before you know it, you will be Apple Scripting like a Mac OS X power user!

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