Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by jbrown, Jul 22, 2005.

  1. jbrown macrumors 6502a


    Jul 7, 2002
    Can someone please give me an idiots explanation as to what it does, and how it does it, and good thing you can do with it.

    Think I have a rough idea, but might help me an otheres to hear it fresh.

    I think you can create little mini apps to do specific things. Can you only use the apps in the list, or can you add apps ( say photoshop ) and actions?

    For instance - it would be good for me to create a mini app that would resize all photos dropped on it to a specified size. So to do this, can I add photoshop, and then all the actions required to achieve this?

    All help appreciated :D

    Also uuseful would be a link to Automator manuals, and are there sites where you can download Automator files ( as you can wiith Widgets ) :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
  2. Applespider macrumors G4


    Jan 20, 2004
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    For a site, check Apple's download section of Automator actions or Automator World

    There's been a few summaries of it written and basic plug ins on the forums so it's probably worth a search with Automator in it.

    You can only use the Apps and Actions in the list unless you install new ones which is where the site above come in. And yes, you're basically creating a mini-app or plug-in.

    You need to remember the following - you need an object(s) for Automator to be working on and an action(s) to perform on them. Once you understand the basic structure of workflows then have a look at some of the test workflows that are already in Automator to see how they're built.

    You can get your 'objects' which can be generic files/folders, image files, iCal events, bookmarks, URLs, music files from a variety of sources - they'll usually be represented in Automator by a 'Get x Files' or a 'Find x Files' or an 'Ask for x files' where x is an app from the list. Even if you're planning a plug-in where you'd highlight files in the Finder before rightclicking to run the Automator workflow, you'd still have a 'Get Finder Files' in there so that the workflow knows what its souce material is. Alternatively, if the files or folders are very specific, then you can specify it exactly in the Workflow as you build it.

    Then you can drop the 'actions' that relate to what you want to do. The action will tell you what tupe of files it will work on - and what kind of files the action will export. You can click 'Run' at any point to check how things going.

    Checking 'Options - Show as Run' in any action will mean that you don't have to be definite about what the workflow is doing. This means that you can change the destination folder, name of the file, size of the image etc, each time you run the app if you want to.

    For your resize one, you don't need any extra actions. Preview has resize actions built in.

    If your original photos are in a folder in the Finder, your actions are going to be
    Get Finder Files

    Copy Finder Files to x (click on Options-Show as Run to select where x would be). This is only necessary if you want to save the originals. If you're happy to resize the originals, then you don't have to do this)

    Resize images to x (click on Options-Show as Run if you want to specify the size/file format each time)

    Then you save it as a plug-in (so that you can run it by rightclicking/Ctrl clicking on the file) or as an application that you can run or drop things onto.

    If your pictures are in iPhoto, then you'd do an 'Ask for iPhoto files' which brings up a dialogue box to allow you to select the images followed by the other steps above (though I'd definitely suggest a 'copy to x' in that case)

    If your next steps after resizing is always archiving them to a zip file and emailling them, you can then add actions to do that.

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