Whew! Macworld was a doozy today; Steve Jobs introduced the completely unexpected Mac mini (why not “miniMac”? It rolls off the tongue easier), the iPod (nee Curly) Shuffle..great stuff. Jobs also re-demoed Tiger, albeit no mention of Automator– but that’s ok, head on over to see a revamp of their Automator demo. Apple also now has a more comprehensive Developer Connection article, Working with Automator.
AppleInsider has screenshots of a recent build of Automator, outlining some user interface improvements since the WWDC build noting “an action menu, reshuffled interface, and a more complete listing of categories and actions. The application now adheres to its “Automator” name, leaving behind the “Pipeline” code name and application icon.”
In a Karlin Associates survey of Macworld readers, Automator came in third place as the most important new feature of Tiger, at 14%, behind 64-bit addressing and Spotlight at number one. One reader responded it’s “worth the price all by itself”. We wholeheartedly agree, but can’t help but wonder if the IOC should review the scores, since we all know Automator is much cooler than Spotlight-right?
For more details on this survey, read the article at Macworld.
TigerTracker has debuted, billing itself as “the world’s only resource dedicated to the new Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger”. It looks to be a good centralized resource for general Tiger information (which is frustratingly sparse of late).
Speaking of sparse information, a bunch of readers have wondered why Automator news have been slow going. The simple fact is, there is little coming out of the dev community right now, as the WWDC build of Tiger is still the only one in general circulation. We’re hoping that a new build is demoed/distributed at Apple Expo Paris at the end of August, which would certainly perk things up a bit.
In Automator-related news, Apple has released Xcode 1.5. While Xcode obviously doesn’t yet support the creation of Automator Actions, if you’re an Xcode junkie, you will no doubt find the following enhancements quite exciting:
-Dead-code stripping -Remote debugging -gcc 3.3 improvements for speed and -fast robustness -Code completion for Java and AppleScript Subversion source-code control system support -Native build system support for AppleScript -Enhanced debugger with memory and globals browsers, as well as the ability to display file static variables -Faster editor performance -Ant templates -Documentation bookmarks -Speed improvements
UPDATE: For those who griped that Xcode 1.5 was released as segments, a single CD .dmg is now available at the ADC site.
MacScripter has a comprehensive article, “Dispelling the Automator myth: Get the Facts on Automator”. It gives a good overview of Job’s WWDC session, and goes on to ruminate how Automator might fit within existing Applescript environments:
“Automator gives AppleScript even more reach, depth, and validity. It will make more people recognize the importance of automation. It will drive adoption of AppleScript in applications. It will bring AppleScript to people who never would have used it before. Because they’re so light-weight and portable, AppleScript scripts will continue to be written, shared, and used. Automator just provides another means for scripters to deliver the power of AppleScript.”
At Apple’s 2004 World Wide Developer’s Conference, CEO Steve Jobs gave a preview of OS X 10.4, Tiger. One of the most exciting new features of Tiger is Automator, (currently code-named Pipeline) “an innovative personal automation assistant that will help you streamline the most challenging repetitive manual tasks without programming. It works like a robot inside your computer.” Asimovian robotic imagery aside, Automator is in my opinion the coolest new tool in the Mac arsenal, and thus is born AutomatorWorld.
For now, AutomatorWorld will be focused on bringing you the latest news on Automator development and functionality as it trickles out of the developer community. When Automator is released to the wild next year, we plan to build-up our library of Workflows, both homegrown and contributed by users.
By the way–this is a brand new site, so we’re looking for any suggestions, ideas or comments you may have. Please feel free to send us your feedback, or visit our forums. Please also check out our Merchandise which we hope will help offset the cost of running this site.
Thanks, and again, welcome to AutomatorWorld, the resource for Automator Workflows, news and tips. We hope you’ll visit us in the coming months as we lead up to its release.
AutomatorWorld Better Living Through Macintosh Scripting
EWeek has a good overview of core Automator technologies and functionality, including a number of good screenshots. They do have a word of caution, noting “the current lack of conditionals gives scripts no way of handling error conditions other than to simply abort the script. Developers creating custom workflows for customers in the Mac’s professional content creation or scientific and technical markets will need the more complex scripting capabilities offered in the current tools”.
Macworld makes the insightful observation, “Will everyone use Automator? Probably not. But those that do will save so much time, they’ll be way ahead of people who don’t.”