Author Topic: Learning AppleScript the DIY way!  (Read 2453 times)

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Offline Publi-Script

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Learning AppleScript the DIY way!
« on: April 30, 2007, 03:54:07 PM »
You, heard of this “AppleScript” for some time now. You even noticed that more and more of recently bought software (for the Mac platform) come with collection of scripts that are supposed to make your life easier. If you are the curious type, you have tried some of them and found them “wanting”, you’d like to customize their source code to better suite your needs. You need to learn AppleScript basics and would like to do it as quickly as possible. This is a non-technical, informational article to assist the newbie programmer on their quest for greater programming skills.
First of all, the good news is that it is possible. The bad news is that it could take some time depending upon existing skills and your specific situation. I am willing to bet that many programmers began this way and gradually went on to bigger tasks.
Of course you could take some classes but, it you are like me, you prefer to you’re your money somewhere else. This article is geared for those who are used to the do-it-yourself methodology.

How Do You Begin?
First, be very honest with your intentions:
  • Do you really want to learn a programming language (or another one) or do you just want to edit some scripts?
  • Is this really for you? Are you really capable of learning this stuff?
  • Would it be easier to pay somebody else to do this?

Most of you probably answer that you just want to edit some scripts but then find yourself gradually performing more complicated tasks. Programming is rather addictive once you get started (That is why programmers call their bug fixes “patches”). There are endless possibilities and avenues for exploration. Additionally, you will be joining legions of devotees in the process. It can be a lot of fun too.
A sound You will soon find yourself reusing pieces of codes in other projects. It is far easier to start with small and concise units that, when pieced together, will accomplish bigger tasks. Whatever you do, starting with a project like building a FTP Client is not a very good idea unless you have a huge amount of time and very little expenses.

Resources:
Book: There are many great books and online resources available. One that I'm particularly fond of is Danny Goodman’s AppleScript Handbook . It's a technical explanation of just about anything a newbie scripter will need to know (and more) but written mostly in plain English.
Web: Mascripter.net, is HUGE resource for all walks of scripter. Mind you I must admit that the wealth of information it present might seem daunting at first.
The underdog: Google. Often overlooked as a resource but you can find most of your answer by searching them with google simply by preceding your “topic” by “AppleScript”. For example: “Applescript read file”
Web Forums: Most forums have rules. They are general enough so that anybody with reasonable common sense can understand them. Read and follow them. Failure to do so could make your journey much more frustrating. More importantly, bring your respect to the table. Receiving free help is a privilege and not a given. If you really want to learn then you should be aware of all the resources a good forum has to offer by looking around first.
You can not fake the learning process for long - repeatedly fishing for others to solve your problems does get noticed. If you are not engaged in learning you could likely irritate forum members with your laziness (I, for one, turned down many of them). It's possible that something will be hard to understand at first so you'll need to learn how to use the materials in addition to the advice of others.
Fear not, you’ll be answering your own questions in no time!.
Through all of the previous methods for learning, there will be a wealth of code snippets you can experiment with at your leisure. The more you see code in action the easier it is to understand.

Finally, remember that solving small problems is much easier than solving all problems at the same time. Be smart in the forum, do your reading, enjoy the process of learning and the results will be evident. Have a good time, relax and enjoy.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2007, 08:06:14 AM by Publi-Script »
Michel Lemieux
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Offline rayl

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Re: Learning AppleScript the DIY way!
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2007, 12:32:59 PM »
Under Resources you might add: Applescript, Second Edition by Hanaan Rosenthal. There are others but those two are the best.
Raymond Lareine • MacBook CoreDuo • Mac OS 10.6.8 • Totalworks (retired)

Offline Publi-Script

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Re: Learning AppleScript the DIY way!
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2007, 10:34:37 AM »
Thanks Ray,

I will have to take your word for it as I have never read, let alone leaf through, this book.
Michel Lemieux
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