Stepping in…

Apple has made a great decision in hiring Ben Waldie.

As another consultant in the automation world, I've long admired Ben’s work at Automated Workflows. He is far more than just an expert developer. He has been a great advocate for AppleScript, Automator, and other Mac-based automation technologies. Through presentations, articles, books and app store products, Ben has shown what great things can be done with Mac automation.

I also happen to know that Ben and his wife Jen are just really nice people. I’m sure great things await the Waldie family in California. In accepting the new job, I know Ben had concerns about making sure his clients and products would continue to be supported.

That's where I step in. My main goal is to provide the same great custom-developed solutions and prompt service to existing clients. I also look forward to continuing to maintain and enhance the company's excellent products, as well as taking a larger role in serving as an advocate for automation technologies.

Filling Ben’s shoes would be a difficult task for anybody. Fortunately, we share the same commitment to quality service and much of the same technical expertise. I've been working with AppleScript and other Mac automation technologies for over twenty years, and have also worked with other languages and applications. I’ve even done some iOS programming, creating an early iPad app which was recognized as New & Noteworthy by Apple.

If any tasks are outside my area of expertise, I have a network of skilled developers and consultants. A long-time associate is Shane Stanley, who many recognize as an expert in this field. Shane wrote the book on AppleScript Objective-C programming, and more recently has branched into Objective-C development with his own application, ASObjC Explorer.

As a trainer, I organized and co-taught AppleScript Pro Sessions, a five-day in-depth training event. I've led seminars for Adobe and Apple, including a very successful European tour focused on automating InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator with AppleScript. I enjoy teaching and sharing videos with helpful tips and techniques.

Like Ben, I've been able to create some very sophisticated custom solutions for a wide range of purposes, helping individuals, small businesses, and Fortune 500 companies. I look forward to continuing this role through Automated Workflows. I've told students and clients that automation is often only limited by the imagination. I have years of experience in coming up with creative solutions to some difficult workflows.

Contact me today about saving time and money through automation, and let’s get to work!

-Ray Robertson
ray@automatedworkflows.com

 

 

Adobe Illustrator Automator Actions Released in the Mac App Store

ai_pack_icon110x110I'm pleased to announce that my AI Automator Action Pack, which includes 20 actions for interacting with Adobe Illustrator in Mac OS X, has been released in the Mac App Store. It can be found here.

Information about my other Automator action packs can be found here.

-Ben

Adobe Photoshop Automator Actions Released in the Mac App Store

PSDPack_110x110I'm pleased to announce that my PS Automator Action Pack, which includes 35 actions for interacting with Adobe Photoshop in Mac OS X, has been released in the Mac App Store. It can be found here.

Information about my other Automator action packs can be found here.

-Ben

FileMaker Pro Automator Actions Released in the Mac App Store

I'm pleased to announce that my FMP Automator Action Pack, which includes 18 actions for interacting with FileMaker Pro in OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, has been released in the Mac App Store. It can be found here.

Information about my other Lion and Mountain Lion action packs can be found here.

-Ben

MacTech Article > Automation and App Usage in Mountain Lion

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard rumors about automation-related changes in Mountain Lion.  Here are the big ones going around… Gatekeeper doesn’t let you run apps or scripts that aren’t in the Mac App Store – third party app and script distribution is dead!  Sandboxing prevents apps from talking to one another – AppleScript and inter-application automation are dead! First, let’s get something straight.  These are rumors.  Second, like lots of rumors, they aren’t true.  So, what’s the real deal, then?

[Read the full article in MacTech magazine's July 2012 issue, available in print and in the MacTech iPad Newsstand app]

Text Automator Action Pack Updated to 4.0.4

The Text Automator Action Pack has been updated to version 4.0.4. Changes include:

  • Find and Replace in Text Action - Updated to support finding/replacing certain unicode characters
  • Remove Duplicate Paragraphs From Text Action - Added an option to ignore empty paragraphs

This action pack extends the power of Automator with 30 actions for performing text manipulation functions in Mac OS X.

The new version is available in the Mac App Store.

Adobe InDesign Automator Actions Released in the Mac App Store

I'm pleased to announce that my ID Automator Action Pack, which includes 20 actions for interacting with Adobe InDesign in Mac OS X Lion and Snow Leopard, has been released in the Mac App Store. It can be found here.

Information about my other Lion action packs can be found here.

-Ben

Text Automator Action Pack Updated to 4.0.3 – Includes 2 New Actions

The Text Automator Action Pack has been updated to version 4.0.3. Changes include:

  • Added a new 'Add Prefix to Text' action
  • Added a new 'Add Suffix to Text' action

This action pack extends the power of Automator with 30 actions for performing text manipulation functions in Mac OS X.

The new version is available in the Mac App Store.

File and Folder Automator Action Pack Updated to 4.0.1

The File and Folder Automator Action Pack, which includes 21 actions for interacting with files and folders in the Finder, has been updated to version 4.0.1. Changes include:

  • Fixed a bug in Filter Finder Items by Size action
  • Fixed a bug in Unlock Finder Items action

The new version is available in the Mac App Store.

Sandboxing a Cocoa-AppleScript (AppleScriptObjC) Application

If you're a Mac developer, then you are probably aware that Apple will soon be requiring all applications submitted to the Mac App Store be sandboxed.  A sandboxed AppleScript-based application is kind of an oxymoron. Sandboxing denotes that an application will run in its own isolated environment, for security reasons.  Meaning that it doesn't have access to other applications on your Mac.  However, this goes against the nature of AppleScript, which is designed as an inter-application scripting language.  By writing AppleScripts, you can intertwine your various applications together to form complex workflows and automate time consuming things you would otherwise need to do manually.

So, how can you, an AppleScript developer, deal with sandboxing and get your app into the Mac App Store?  You can request temporary entitlements (translation: may not be supported in the future) for the apps and processes with which your app interacts.  Here are the general steps, which will vary depending on the actual function of your app:

1. Use Xcode to create your Cocoa-AppleScript app (AppleScriptObjC app)

2. In the Project Navigator, select your project

3. In the Project Editor, select your app's target

4. In the Summary tab, configure the following settings:

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- Enable Entitlements - Select this checkbox to turn entitlements on for your app

- App Sandbox - Select this checkbox to turn sandboxing on for your app

- File System - If you plan to use file/folder user interaction commands, such as "choose file", "choose folder", and "choose file name", then set this dropdown to "Read/Write Access".  Do the same if you plan to use commands such as "open for access" and "write".

5. In the Project Navigator, select the .entitlements file that should have been created automatically

6. Add an entry for "com.apple.security.temporary-exception.apple-events".  If you will have multiple entitlements, set this to be an array. Otherwise, set it to a string.  Add UTI entries for each application your app needs to target. For example, for the Finder, add "com.apple.finder". For iTunes, add "com.apple.itunes". If you don't add a temporary Apple Events entitlement and the necessary UTIs, then your app will produce errors when attempting to target external applications.

click to enlarge

7. If your app will write to a directory in the user's home folder, add an entry for "com.apple.security.temporary-exception.files.home-relative-path.read-write".  Set this to be an array, and add paths to any folders you will write to, beginning each with a slash. I.e. /Desktop/ represents the user's Desktop.

That should do it.  Build and run your project, and check Xcode's debug console for problems.

Download an example of a sandboxed Cocoa-AppleScript Xcode project here.

Official documentation for sandboxing an app can be found on Apple's developer website.

Note that sandboxing doesn't affect strictly AppleScript applications.  Other applications could potentially be affected, as well, including Automator* and numerous popular third-party applications.  Well, to be fair, these applications could still work.  They just couldn't be submitted to the Mac App Store once Apple's sandboxing requirement goes into effect, at least not without employing temporary entitlements.

For more on the growing controversy regarding sandboxing and inter-application communication, check out:

* In theory, Automator actions contained within a sandboxed application should not need to be sandboxed themselves.  This is because they would technically fall under the scope of the application that loads and runs them - in this case - Automator.  So, their capabilities should be governed by Automator's sandbox, which, due to the nature of Automator, should allow them to run unimpeded.