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February 9, 2005

"AppleScript: The Missing Manual": You Needn't Be a Geek to Automate a Mac

Sebastopol, CA--"If you're an everyday Mac user--not some fancy-schmancy computer science Ph.D.--AppleScript is by far the easiest language to use for automating your Mac," assures Adam Goldstein, author of the new AppleScript: The Missing Manual (O'Reilly, US $24.95). "AppleScript has been around long enough to become a stable, powerful, and, most importantly, nearly bug-free language." And AppleScript comes free with every Mac--and every copy of Mac OS X.

"Although I'm in high school," says Goldstein (all of 16 years old when he wrote the book), I've used Macs for longer than some adults (13 years)." While he may not yet have his drivers' license, Goldstein has most definitely earned his license to drive a Mac. He's the founder of GoldfishSoft (www.goldfishsoft.com), a software company specializing in games and utilities for Mac OS X, a technical editor for the most recent edition of O'Reilly's Mac OS X: The Missing Manual, and an editor for Mac OS X Power Hound.

In AppleScript: The Missing Manual, Goldstein shows readers how to take full advantage of Apple's ultra-popular, English-like scripting language to save time, energy, and resources by getting AppleScript to do "just about anything you can do yourself" on the Mac. With his book, Goldstein promises, "Mac users of all kinds--even those who don't know how to program--will be able to write useful AppleScripts with confidence and proficiency."

"If this isn't the clearest, most patient, most skillfully taught AppleScript book ever published, I'll eat my mouse," says David Pogue, weekly tech columnist for the "New York Times" and creator of the Missing Manual series, in his foreword to Goldstein's book.

In this entertaining, authoritative, straightforward guide, Goldstein provides a thorough introduction to using AppleScript to eliminate repetitive jobs, automate complicated workflows, accomplish stuff in the background, and compute faster and easier than any person ever could. The book delivers:

  • AppleScript essentials: Goldstein teaches readers all about the Script Editor (the program used to deploy AppleScript) and Mac OS X's Script Menu. It also uncovers the hidden AppleScript lessons in Mac OS X's built-in scripts.
  • Program control: Even without any prior programming or scripting experience, readers will learn how to write AppleScripts to control applications like Mail, TextEdit, Safari, Microsoft Word, QuickTime Player, Adobe Photoshop, and more.
  • System scripting: Power users will learn how to use AppleScript to control Mac OS X's heart and soul--Unix. They will be able to run Unix commands and shell scripts without the Terminal and use Unix to schedule and run AppleScripts even when they're away from the computer.
  • GUI scripting: Mac users can't use AppleScript to directly control every program that runs on the Mac, but Goldstein shows readers how to use GUI scripting to work around that limitation.
  • Tips and tricks: The book introduces several novel and fun uses for AppleScript, including writing a metronome that makes the screen flash instead of ticking; using Microsoft Word's thesaurus from any program; zooming in on the screen by a specific amount; automatically optimizing pictures for a web site; and downloading email messages to an iPod to listen to them as audio files.
  • Additional Resources:

    AppleScript: The Missing Manual
    Adam Goldstein
    ISBN: 0-596-00850-3, 325 pages, $24.95 US, $36.95 CA
    order@oreilly.com
    1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

    About O'Reilly

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