So often on any of the design- or prepress-related listservs and forums I participate in, when someone posts a question, someone else answers, "You could probably script this," especially if the questioner is using a Mac. It can get quite aggravating after awhile.
AppleScript is purportedly so easy for normal people (non-programmers) to learn, it sometimes feels like software developers leave off features on purpose, knowing that the user can write a script for it if they really want it. And I am so jealous of those that know how to do this … I've never been able to get AppleScript to sink in my poor brain, though I've sat down with tutorials more than twice.
Tiger's Automator is supposed to help end users figure out AppleScripting, and it already has many adherents, especially among left-brained designers. For example, the top download on the Automator World web site is Photoshop CS Automator Actions (a CS2 version is also available):
Well, this was the example that Ray Robertson, one of the two hosts of the AppleScript Pro Sessions, told me on the phone yesterday. He went on about all sorts of ways that AppleScript can take over repetitive monkey work that designers, publishers and pre-press pros have to deal with every day, and all the free and low-cost tools (and free scripts!) that are available. I immediately thought back to all the clients I've taught InDesign, InCopy, Acrobat, etc. to, and all the ways scripts could've been the answer to some of their thorniest production problems they brought up.
I met Ray at the Creative Suite Conference in Las Vegas, where I sat in on his AppleScript QuickStart session. It was just a tantalizing taste of what's possible, but I needed more.
Good news — Ray said he and Shane Stanley (well known to anyone who's already done any sort of AppleScripting, he's the friendly poster giving all the answers on the listservs and forums) are bringing their twice-yearly, week-long AppleScript workshop to Chicago for the first time! Baby, I'm there.
When and Where
Ray and Shane's AppleScript Pro Sessions (the official name of the 5-day seminar) will be in Chicago — actually, Indian Lakes Resort in west suburban Bloomingdale — from October 31 to November 4, 2005:
If it's not snowing (probably won't be), you should know Indian Lakes has a great golf course and a marvelous pool (I've stayed there before … the resort is a nice local getaway).
Go to the workshop's URL (above) to see a day-by-day breakdown of workshop content … but to summarize, Day 1 is an introduction to AppleScript, Days 2, 3 and 4 cover scripting different programs, mostly design ones like Photoshop, Quark, and Acrobat (and a full day devoted to scripting InDesign!), and Day 5 covers OS X/database stuff like Automator, XML, Terminal, and AppleScript Studio.
You can sign up for any 3, 4 or all 5 days of the Sessions. The more days you sign up for, the cheaper the per-day cost is. There are lots of extra bennies — surprise guest speakers, software, free scripts, access to a private listserv — read through the web page to learn more. But the biggest bennie is getting taught by the masters of AppleScript themselves (and they're very friendly, low-key guys), and sharing what you know with your fellow students.
For DesignGeek subscribers only, Ray and Shane have extended their early-bird discount from the original cut-off date of Sept. 15 all the way up to Sept. 30.
Ray says to enter [sorry, the code was just for e-mail subscribers] in the Referral field of the registration form and be sure to complete the online registration by Sept. 30 to get the DesignGeek discount.
Hope to see you there, too!