helper scripts and killing all scripts

2 things.

  1. I have a helper script with a few standard things I can call in any of my ordinary applescripts. Here’s the helper (it’s still pretty small):

on activate_window(window_title)
	tell application id "sevs"
			tell process window_title to set frontmost to true
		on error number -10006
			display dialog "The window '" & window_title & "' doesn't seem to exist. So we can't bring it to the front...!"
		end try
	end tell
end activate_window

-- `menu_click`, by Jacob Rus, September 2006
-- Accepts a list of form: `{"Finder", "View", "Arrange By", "Date"}`
-- Execute the specified menu item.  In this case, assuming the Finder 
-- is the active application, arranging the frontmost folder by date.

on menu_click(mList)
	local appName, topMenu, r
	-- Validate our input
	if mList's length < 3 then error "Menu list is not long enough"
	-- Set these variables for clarity and brevity later on
	set {appName, topMenu} to (items 1 through 2 of mList)
	set r to (items 3 through (mList's length) of mList)
	-- This overly-long line calls the menu_recurse function with
	-- two arguments: r, and a reference to the top-level menu
	tell application "System Events" to my menu_click_recurse(r, ((process appName)'s ¬
		(menu bar 1)'s (menu bar item topMenu)'s (menu topMenu)))
end menu_click

on menu_click_recurse(mList, parentObject)
	local f, r
	-- `f` = first item, `r` = rest of items
	set f to item 1 of mList
	if mList's length > 1 then set r to (items 2 through (mList's length) of mList)
	-- either actually click the menu item, or recurse again
	tell application "System Events"
		if mList's length is 1 then
			click parentObject's menu item f
			my menu_click_recurse(r, (parentObject's (menu item f)'s (menu f)))
		end if
	end tell
end menu_click_recurse

on win_wait_active(theObjectID, appName)
	tell application "System Events"
		set anInteger to "0" as integer
		repeat until exists window theObjectID of process appName
			delay 0.2
			set anInteger to anInteger + 1
			if anInteger is greater than 10 then
				display dialog "Times UP"
			end if
		end repeat
	end tell
end win_wait_active

This saves a lot of code and makes things reusable. The only downside is that the helper file has to be in the same directory, which I have no problem with. But is there any major performance issues or any other unforseen issues that might arise by structuring my scripts this way? (with a helper script for common functions)

  1. One issue that I have to address… If something encounters an error in the helper file, let’s say the win_wait_active times out, I need it to stop. The return will stop the execution of that function but in the file that actually is doing the primary automation, the file that called upon the helper, it will simply continue executing. I want that one to stop as well.

I tried this from someone else’s post, but I can’t use it because the compiler wants to know where AppleScript Runner is. It doesn’t exist until it’s executing… right? So how would I be able to compile it?

Any advice to this solution?

on kill_script()
	tell application "AppleScript Runner" to quit
end kill_script


  1. any performance concern regarding GUI scripting is negligible.
  2. I’m a professional Finale user and I do a lot of Finale GUI scripting. I’ve tested my scripts without a helper. I added error and timeout handling so the scripts finish always in a safe state. This takes some time to develop but it’s worth it.
  3. not tested but try
on kill_script()
   tell current application to quit
end kill_script

Ok, thanks Stefan. You’re the man!

As far as the kill_script thing goes… well. it stops it there, but only because it shoots the error:

“System Events got an error: Can’t continue kill_script. (-1708)”

within an application tell block a handler must be called with my

my kill_script()

That’s the one! Thanks.