If I Ruled the Universe

If I ruled the universe, AppleScripters would no longer occupy the bottom rung of the programming ladder. We would command the same respect as upper-tier programmers and we would drive fast cars and date Hollywood hotties. (Male or female, depending on what team you bat for, so to speak.)

If I ruled the universe, Apple would create a true development environment for scripters in which we could create killer OS X applications with AppleScript. ahem Waitaminute, that’s already happened. See what an effective leader I am?

In that case, if I ruled the universe, this new development environment would take on a new look over IB/PB or it would be marketed without a name of its own. With yours truly pulling the proverbial strings at Infinite Loop, I might have considered a user base of AppleScript-only programmers and would have catered more to their approach with this update to Apple’s developer tools. I think it’s a bit confusing to associate a separate name because of the fact that AppleScript will compile in Project Builder. The name “AppleScript Studio” implies a different or separate application, geared to the language and routines to which we’re accustomed.

Under my rule, Project Builder would hide from scripters the elements of the Objective C experience which don’t necessarily apply to them as AppleScripters. If you preferred, said elements would be optionally viewable but hidden by default.

Many of the principles which object-oriented programming veterans consider commonplace (.nib libraries, connecting interface objects, frameworks) are new to even dyed-in-the-wool AppleScripters. Remember, the majority of Mac users use a Mac because they don’t want to worry about programming. Hence, Mac scripters are generally cut from that same cloth. I think a real void exists here and someone needs to write a book to help AppleScript authors move their skills to these more robust tools. Apple’s included “Building Applications with AppleScript Studio” documentation, although thorough in its Watson-application walk-through, makes too many assumptions of prior experience with Cocoa and doesn’t give the necessary background to understand this brave new environment in a Mac scripting context.

As our own Kirk Klingbel put it:

"…I’ve seen samples on the web and it strikes me as mostly a sophisticated use of handlers. When calling it Project Builder, development environments, frameworks and nib libraries, on par with C and other programming and scripting languages - it’s scary, especially to us graphic artists who are only looking for a good fix in a workflow problem that doesn’t involve learning how to program a computer or looking for commercial software or bringing IT into the picture.

But if the details are similar to how to use handlers, it’s still ‘programming for the rest of us’ as has been said. Thus, I see handlers as a good introduction to how Studio, IB and PB is bringing AppleScript up the ladder of languages while still catering to all levels of user. For myself, when I studied other scripts and started building my own instead of recording then modifying them, it was the lessons of handers when I realized I was actually learning how to program."

If I ruled the universe, the tendency to draw a FaceSpan comparison here would be unavoidable. FaceSpan has in the past always been the answer for AppleScript interface building. And, later, with the loyal subjects of oxaxen such as Dialog Director. Dare I say Apple could learn a bit from the fine folks at FaceSpan about bridging this aforementioned gap.

There is an interesting secondary benefit for Mac scripters coming to OS X. With OS 9.x and earlier, it was easy for most users to enable and disable various extensions and OS-level capabilities at will. Unfortunately, that also included AppleScript’s extension. With X, the easily interruptible component model is gone. Sure, you *nix savvy folks can get in there and dig around, but most converts won’t have the wherewithal. This is good for AppleScript as a whole. It will make our projects, scripts, and 'Studio applications far more reliable across a larger base of users. Again, King T.J. presides over harmony.

Finally, as Supreme Czar of the Universe, I would extend time-honored Knighthood to the outstanding citizens at Apple Computer who have bequeathed a bit of their own kingdom to the faithful and made it possible for Mac scripters to make meaningful contributions to the advancement of this revolutionary operating system.

tell application "Finder"
   display dialog "Be well."
end tell