Folder Action limitations

Does anyone know if there any limitations around what a folder action can do without going down the Perl/shell scripting route?

I am trying to open a dropped text file, and replace the carriage returns with commas.

My stand alone script works OK but I want to make it an invisible process.

Running Under Pather.

Also is there a smart way of doing it? The current process is as follows:

choose text file
read contents to a vaiable as list using return as delim
pick first 7 chars(return is 8th)
replace in list
rewrite contents back to file


Folder Actions are what you see: fire applescript statements under certain conditions. And I don’t think that Perl/whatever can actually do this.
If you are talking about AppleScript limitations handling text… Hmmm… You can use “do shell script” and work with perl or whatever you like (php, shell, python, etc.). For a simple search/replace, I would just use plain AS TIDs and the read/write commands, which are pretty fast.

You can edit the “plst” resource of your applescript-app (or “plist” file, if bundle) and use the following tag:


Thanks for your response.

Excuse my stupidity…

what would editing the plist enable ?


Just re-reading your post, when I try to remove the unwanted returns from the data it does not replace them.

property type_list : {"text"}
tell application "Finder"		
set these_items to choose file		
set the item_info to the info for these_items		
set item_name to the name of this_info		
set file_to_read to item_name		
set pos_data to my read_this_file(file_to_read)		
repeat with i from 1 to the count of the items in the pos_data		
set test_name to item i of the pos_data				
if test_name starts with "U" then								
copy "" to (item i of the pos_data)				
set AppleScript's text item delimiters to ""									set new_name to (characters 4 thru 10 of test_name) as string					
copy new_name to (item i of the pos_data)								
end if			
end try		
end repeat				
set AppleScript's text item delimiters to ","		
set file_content to pos_data as string				
set write_path to ((this_item as string)) as alias		
set the write_path to the write_path as text		
set the open_target_file to open for access the file write_path with write permission		
set eof of the open_target_file to 0		
write file_content to the open_target_file starting at eof		
close access the open_target_file				
beep 2	
end tell		
on read_this_file(file_to_read)				
set file_to_read to file_to_read as text		
set the retrieved_info to read alias (file_to_read) using delimiter return as list
return retrieved_info		
on error
beep 1
return 0
end try	
end read_this_file

What am I doing wrong?


I don’t understand very well what are you doing with this code, but the basics of search/replace using TIDs is the following:

set inputString to "some text"

set AppleScript's text item delimiters to "text" --> enter search string
set inputString to inputString's text items --> {"some ", ""}
set AppleScript's text item delimiters to "stuff" --> enter replace string
set inputString to inputString as text --> coerce list back to string using replace string
set AppleScript's text item delimiters to {""} --> reset TIDs to its default value

inputString --> "some stuff"

Adding a “LSUIElement” tag to the plist of an app should make it a background-faceless app. But just forgot it, since a folder action is already a background process :oops:


This all works fine if you can define a visible cahracter.

How can I do it with return as the delimiter?

AS seems to ignore this!!

This is a simple test version (based on lots of bits you have helped me with!!)

tell application "Finder"
	set my_file to choose file
	set my_data to read my_file using delimiter return
	display dialog my_data as string
	set AppleScript's text item delimiters to return
	set new_list to the text items of my_data
	display dialog new_list as string
	set AppleScript's text item delimiters to ""
end tell

When you read using delimiters you already pick a list:

read alias "path:to:file.txt" using delimiter return
--> {"paragraph 1", "paragraph 2"}

Now let’s imagine that you wish an output list where you will replace any coincidence of “paragraph” with “something” → {“something 1”, “something 2”}

set listOfParagraphs to (read file "path:to:file.txt" using delimiter return)
--> {"paragraph 1", "paragraph 2"}

set finalList to {}
repeat with thisParagraph in listOfParagraphs
	set end of finalList to my searchReplace(thisParagraph, "paragraph", "something")
end repeat
--> {"something 1", "something 2"}

to searchReplace(thisText, searchTerm, replaceTerm)
	set AppleScript's text item delimiters to searchTerm
	set thisText to thisText's text items
	set AppleScript's text item delimiters to replaceTerm
	set thisText to thisText as string
	set AppleScript's text item delimiters to {""}
	return thisText
end searchReplace

You can include your own criteria in the repeat loop, such as:

if thisparagraph starts with "U" then set end of finalList to my searchReplace(thisParagraph, "paragraph", "something")

(which will strip any paragraph starting with “U” from the “finalList”.


As you had probably guessed all these posts are linked.

Anyway thanks for you continuing support…

The "Ascii Chr 10’ kind of works this is a snapshot of the event log:

choose file
	alias "OS X:data:12X4urn.txt"
ASCII character 10

read alias “OS X:data:12X4urn.txt” using delimiter "
", "001115955
", "001115958
", "001115959
", "001115960
", "001115967
", "001115970
", "001115971
", "001115994
", "001115995
", "001116003
", "001116004
", "001116009
", "001116024
", "001116029

Note that it stiill includes a line break even though there is only one in the text file.


Then maybe you can read the file using delimiter “(ASCII character 10) & return”

How about just using the paragraphs property which should account for various line endings (LF, CR, , etc.):


[This script was automatically tagged for color coded syntax by Convert Script to Markup Code]

Thanks guys.

The paragrapgh thing worked in the end.

Still not sure why the other CR/LF/?? was being retained or even what it was.