Headlines

News

Otto Have a New Icon

Automator has a new icon for OS X Lion.

News

Mac Automation Podcasts

Ben Waldie of Automated Workflows, LLC is hosting a new video podcast series for Peachpit Press called “Mac Automation Made Simple”.

The podcasts focus on providing tips and tricks for using Automator and AppleScript in Mac OS X. The first four episodes are now available on Peachpit’s website, and in iTunes. New episodes will be posted every couple of weeks.

News

Automator Updated in OS X 10.5.3

Apple has released the allegedly overdue Mac OS X 10.5.3 Update. Changes to Automator include:

  • Addresses an issue in which some actions may not work with the “Show When Run” option enabled.
  • Resolves an issue in which the “New iCal Event” action may not work.
  • Resolves an issue that prevents workflows from being saved in the Finder’s contextual menu.
  • Fixes reliability issues for Automator scripts that search for files by date.
  • Resolves an issue that prevents workflows from being saved in the Finder’s contextual menu.
  • Addresses an issue in which Automator workflows as Finder plugins do not work when the workflow begins with the “Get Selected Finder Items” action.
  • Fixes an issue in which the “Copy Files” action does not reliably work when added from Automator’s warning dialog.
News

Waldie Interviewed on Automator

Ben Waldie of Automated Workflows, LLC was interviewed about Automator for the weekly MacVoices podcast. In the interview, Waldie discusses new features in Leopard, give some tips for getting started, and try to dispel some of the misconceptions about Automator (and the difference between AppleScript and Automator). The interview will also be available on iTunes.

News

Automator Fixes in OS X 10.5.2 Update

AppleScript Product Manager Sal Soghoian was kind enough to drop me an email detailing a number of fixes to Automator that went unmentioned in the release notes of the recent OX 10.5.2 update:

  • Show When Run issues
  • Tiger-based actions not working because of File-or-Folder typing
  • Tiger-based droplets not responding
  • Incorrect Find and Filter action results

Hopefully these changes will correct issues users have had. Thanks, Sal!

Hints & Tips

Quick Look Automator Workflows

OS X Leopard’s Quick Look feature is great—select any file(s), jam on the spacebar, and the contents of the file are revealed. This works with Automator as well.

Quick Look an Automator workflow, and a HUD pops up revealing the entire workflow content. In a nice touch, resizing the QL window dynamically scales the content (saving bitmaps). Note that QL only works on Automator 2.0 workflows; older workflows will need to be opened and resaved.

Opinion

Automator 2.0 Review

With the release of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, Apple has delivered a solid update with high-profile features such as Time Machine, Spaces, and a (mostly) improved user interface. Of interest here, of course, is the highly anticipated whole-number update to Automator.

Automator 1 was a good product, but hampered by performance issues and bugs. Its limited functionality often required clever hacks, or simply drove users to more robust tools such as raw Applescript, perl or worst of all, over-paid consultants.

So does Automator 2 address these issues? Is it better, stronger, faster? Does it put those $200/hr. consultants out to pasture? Let’s find out.

More »

News

OS X Leopard Automator Features

OS X 10.5 Leopard shipping date has been officially announced as October 26th. On the new 300+ Features page, Apple gives us an official list of the new Automator features, including my favorite, workflow variables (dispensing with a host of 3rd party hacks and actions).

Leopard can be pre-ordered for a measly $109 at Amazon (and you help this site with a small kickback in the process).

News

Photoshop Action Pack version 3.6

Ben Long of Complete Digital Photography has released a maintenance update of the Photoshop Action Pack.

Version 3.6 features improved rendering when using Save for Web, a redesigned Render action that takes up less space in the workflow window, and a new action: Strip Extra Channels, which removes all extra channels from a document.

News

Pixelmator Ships

Pixelmator, the new Core Image-based image editor we mentioned a while ago, is now available. Pixelmator includes five Automator actions: Add Effects, Change Image Type, Enhance, Resize and Transform. A demo is available for download at their website, ad costs $49 for a license.

News

Cocktail Automates

Maintain.se has just announced the release of Cocktail 3.8.2 (Tiger Edition). Version 3.8.2 adds twelve new Automator actions and the Safe (Safe Boot) option to the Startup Mode setting and possibility to show or hide Quit Finder menu item.

Bundled actions include: Clear Caches, Clear Log Files, Delete DS Store Files, Log Out, Put To Sleep, Repair Disk Permissions, Restart, Run Daily/weekly/monthly Scripts, Shut Down, and others. Cocktail 3.8.2 may be purchased for $14.95 USD for a single user license.

News

iPhone Mail Rules!

Yes, that headline can be taken two ways. I don’t own an iPhone, so I can’t say whether the mail app on it rules, but I can point you to Automator.us, which has posted a new utilitity for use with the iPhone. This set of Mail rules interacts between your computer and iPhone using some fun Applescript trickery, doing things such as sending an iPhone photo to your iPhoto library back home. Macworld has an article detailing how this all works.

News

Automator for OS X 10.5 Leopard Revealed

Today at WWDC 07, Apple revealed a host of new features for Leopard (some cool, some sorta stupid– do we really want reflections in our Dock?). Not mentioned in the keynote but up at the website are a few details on the forthcoming new version of Automator.

The highlights:

  • UI update. Automator now sports a cleaner interface, bringing it up to the new consistency promised for the whole OS.
  • Recording. At long last, Automator will record manual steps, as macro recorders have done for years. QuicKeys, watch your back.
  • Variables. While there are a number of actions and hacks for achieving pseudo variable functionality, the lack of real variable support has been very limiting for Automator users. No more.
  • Wizardry. Mostly for newer users, Automator will sport a helper to set up common automation tasks.

Of course most Automator users would trade these features for stability and speed– hopefully that will come to pass, too.

News

Pixelmator 1.0 Integrates Automator

Pixelmator Team has announced a pretty slick looking new image-editing application, Pixelmator. The entire UI is based on the HUD-style floating palates that have started to crop up in OS X apps, and has a pretty impressive feature-set. Pixelmator promises fully integrated Automator support, which “allow the user to quickly enhance, resize, or transform images, add any special effects, and even export images to more than 100 different file formats.” It will be available in late-july for $59.

UPDATE: TUAW now has a video of Pixelmator in action. If this thing is really as fast and slick as presented, it could be a killer platform for Automator image processing (there are lots of great Photoshop Automator actions, but they are all hampered by that app’s sluggish file handling).

News

Photoshop Action Pack 3.5 Released

Ben Long of Complete Digital Photography has released the long-awaited Photoshop Action Pack 3.5, a major update to his extensive and invaluable (and did I mention free?) suite of Automator actions.

The new version 3.5 adds support for Photoshop CS3, includes a new Auto Color action, and adds a number of new features to older actions. In addition, a few important bug fixes have been included. The new version does not include support for any of CS3′s new features, but ports all of the old Action Pack features to CS3. The package’s 86 actions provide Automator with access to all of Photoshop’s major image editing features.

Note: Due to the size and scope of this release, I am no longer offering it for download at Automator World. The previous CS2 version is still available, however.