As I mentioned in another post, I’ve been tossing around the idea of writing some sort of ASStudio reference. There is an obvious gap in the documentation and resources available to ASS developers, a void I’ve been trying to help fill for more than two years through my participation in this community. I’ve been trying to find a way to make a more formal commitment to making this contribution, and creating a reference of this kind seems the most logical way. It would be a significant endeavor, with a comprehensive discussion of topics specific to development in ASStudio. Drawing on my experiences with applescript, and also with other languages I’ve worked with, I’d like to set down a broad and clear vision of my understanding of ASStudio and of programming in a more general sense as it applies to ASS development. I’d like to ramble a bit about style, give clear examples of common triumphs and pitfalls, discuss thoroughly every object and protocol available in vanilla ASStudio, and provide a grand palette of example code and projects upon which others can build their own ASStudio foundation. I essentially intend to rewrite everything that apple has provided in their ASS doc’s, adding in more content and more examples wherever apple has dropped the ball.
I have heard many requests for references to books or other resources that cover ASStudio development and conceptual topics. WIth few exceptions, there simply are no good learning tools for applescript studio development. While forums and random tutorials are certainly valuable resources, they typically lack the focus and structure that I believe many people are searching for. I think it’s time for someone… perhaps me… to create that resource.
I am very interested in knowing what people think about this. I would like to know what you, my peers, would like to see in this resource. Below are some specific questions I’d like your input on. There’s no need to clutter up the forum with this discussion, so please feel free to contact me via email if you have any input. I’m a big fan of outside input… especially the long-winded kind… so feel free to be as vague or as specific as you’d like. If you have an answer that doesn’t address a question I’ve asked below, please feel free to send it to me anyways. I’m fishing for interest and input, and I value any contributions you’re willing to take the time to make.
How would you like to see it formatted? I’m leaning toward an “online reference” approach. Perhaps an html bundle that would extend/replace apple’s docs. Or, maybe an Xcode plugin or custom “Help Viewer”-style app that contained a local html reference with extended internet-supported resources. I realize that many people still read those “book” thingies, but I’m not particularly a fan of them and I think that writing an actual book is a little out of context. My emphasis will be on learning by example through sample code and sample projects. Only after you can open something up to see for yourself how it works, or to take something apart and then put it back together yourself, can you really learn how all of it’s components interact. A paper book just does not feel appropriate considering this belief. I feel that working in a digital medium would allow me to explore every angle and follow every path I might encounter, a limitation that can not be overcome in a paper book. Using an internet-based approach would allow me to publish online and to distribute local copies via the web. It would also allow me to easily integrate examples and scripts into my reference that could be accessed by simply clicking links to activate scripts, access files, link to other sources, or launch applications to handle advanced features of the reference.
There are some topics out there that simply make no sense at all until you live, eat, and breath them for a long time. I can think of a handful of topics that need extensive documentation and examples to explain, which currently have little or no existing documentation. There are topics which continue to come up time and again in forums and in private discussions that beg to be written down in a comprehensive, easily-located manner. I have begun making a list of these things as I see them, but my experience has left me blind to what is and what isn’t difficult to learn in ASStudio. I learned much of what I know about applescript at least a couple years ago, and have forgotten how difficult learning some of it truly was. I’d like to gather a list of all of the topics that both new and experienced scripters believe deserve discussion. If you feel that a certain topic warrants expanded attention, please let me know what it is so I can add it to my list of important subjects.
What actually works, or is of value to ASStudio developers… in terms of existing resources? Are there any resources that you’ve found indispensable, that exemplify what it is that I should be trying to achieve. My intention is not to rip off someone else’s good idea’s and claim them for my own, but rather to develop a model of what features, designs, and approaches are most influential to the most people. This question is broad-ranging, and can be interpreted as loosely as you’d care to interpret it. Having been a web designer for many years, I got into the habit of expecting clients to tell me what they wanted up front. When they… as non-designers… never did tell me what they wanted, I got into the habit of just making it all up for them. While I’d like to think that I’m an amazing designer and that they never complained about my designs because they were perfect :rolleyes:, I realize that it’s more likely that they were just indifferent because their passion for the site was disproportionate to my own commitment to the quality of my work. While it’s nice to have flexibility in what I create, it’s often an equal pleasure to have clear project guidelines. I’d like to know what works for you and what doesn’t. Are there certain design layout’s, certain features, certain accessibility issues or content requirements that a project of this scope should incorporate? What should I focus on that will be of most use and interest to you as a potential user? Please feel free to tell me exactly how you think that things should work… or, what you definitely don’t want to see it do. Once I decide whether to start down the path, I want to know from the beginning exactly where I’m going to end up at the end of the journey. I, of course, have a strong idea of what this thing will do and how it will look, but this is your chance to perhaps steer me in a direction I would not otherwise have gone.
What else can you say? I’m open to anything at this point. Even if you just want to tell me you think I’m a jerk and never want to see anything I write, please feel free to take the time to share your insights. I’ve already got all the answers I need for my own development needs, or I know where to look to find them, so I’m certainly not writing this for my own benefit. It’s for you, and you, and YOU! If you want to have any say in how your new resource turns out, this may be one of the only times that I’ll come begging for your advice.
Anyone can reach me via the email link in my user info, or directly at jobu10000(a)yahoo.com.
Looking forward to your input,