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Yosemite’s Automation Improvements

October 29th, 2014

Ray Robertson of Automated Workflows offers a good rundown of the automation changes Apple provides in OS X Yosemite and their iWork suite of apps. When you look at the mass of changes, including enhancements to AppleScript, Automator, and the addition of an all new JavaScript dialect for application scripting, it reads like a pretty huge update to the state of automation. So much for AppleScript being “dead” to Apple, huh?

One of the interesting new features in AppleScript is support for scripts exposing their own “progress” as they run. This facilitates the system displaying e.g. a busy indicator, or even a progress bar that fills up as the script moves along the steps of its work. Unfortunately the progress feature of AppleScript has not been exposed to 3rd party developers, so far as I can tell. So an app like FastScripts, or any other app that runs scripts on its own, cannot yet take advantage of showing users the fancy progress feedback.

I’m especially impressed and intrigued by the changes Apple has made to iWork to better facilitate scripting. When they launched the major updates to the suite last year, they gutted AppleScript support in the apps. They’ve been gradually adding stuff back, and the latest updates make another big leap. As described by the Automated Workflows post, they’ve gone so far as to provide custom UI in the app for labeling fields with scriptable terms. I look forward to seeing what I can do now with some automated Pages workflows that I’ve been holding back to the previous generation of the app.

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