Conclusions, Lessons, and Advice

You’ll no doubt have noticed that most of my time and effort working on this problem was spent wrestling with the particular scriptable application I was trying to automate. In general, that’s how it is with AppleScript. AppleScript itself is a very small language; it is extended in different ways by different scriptable applications. Trying to work out what a particular scriptable application will let you say and how it will respond when you say it constitutes much of the battle of working with AppleScript.

Another feature of the struggle is that AppleScript’s error messages aren’t very helpful, and it lacks a debugging environment (unless you use Script Debugger as your script editor application), so it’s important to proceed with caution and patience. When you try to execute a script, all you really know is that it worked or it didn’t; if it didn’t, finding out why isn’t easy. You can see that I developed my final script slowly and in stages, testing each piece as I went along. I knew that the pieces worked before I put them into place; that way I could be pretty confident that I knew what the script as a whole would do.

Here, to conclude, are a few apophthegms to live by, derived from the foregoing. I hope you’ll find this advice helpful in your own AppleScript adventures:

Use the dictionary.

The biggest problem you face as you approach driving a scriptable application is that you don’t know the application’s "object model”—what sorts of thing it ...

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