Thoughts/questions about Automator

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by mduser63, Apr 30, 2005.

  1. mduser63 macrumors 68040

    mduser63

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2004
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    #1
    I have to say I'm really pleased with Tiger, especially Dashboard and Spotlight. However, I was really looking forward to Automator, but I'm disappointed with it. Yesterday I was doing something I do often, which is to import AIFF files into iTunes, name them based on track names in a text file and then convert them to AAC. It's fairly tedious, and takes a while, so I thought I'd see about using Automator to do it. It should be fairly easy, all it requires is to get text out of a text file, which is apparently possible with the "filter paragraphs" action for TextEdit. Then you could use the "set info of iTunes songs" to set each track name in a given album to the values retrieved from the text file. However, the connections between actions are REALLY limited. So I can get text from the file just fine, and I can get iTunes tracks from the currently selected album, but there's no way to feed the text from the TextEdit action into the "set info" iTunes action.

    Apparently there's not much that you can do with Automator that's complicated, at least when dealing with multiple applications. Maybe things will improve as more people write actions and workflows and put them out there on the web, but for now my feeling is that Automator has been severely limited in functionality when it didn't have to be. What do others think? Has anyone found anything really cool that they can do with Automator?
     
  2. SPUY767 macrumors 68000

    SPUY767

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2003
    Location:
    GA
    #2
    I used it in beta quite a lot, applescript can be used to program new functions for it, and Applescript is quite a bit more versatile at present, I'd try to use a bit of applescript with it, I found that to be the best course of action for complicated tasks.
     
  3. mduser63 thread starter macrumors 68040

    mduser63

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2004
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    #3
    After my experience with Automator last night, I started looking at books to learn Applescript, because I know that what I want to do (and much more complicated things) can be done with AppleScript. Do you have any recommendations for good books?
     
  4. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #4
    The Automator actions seem much more limited than the AppleScript dictionaries for the same applications, plus you are missing the general features of Applescript. So of course you are limited and a certain percentage of actions you do routinely aren't going to be supported.

    But of course that's a result of the niche it fills - Automator for the most important easy-to-snap-together actions, in ready-made form, and AppleScript as the next step up - more power, more generalaity, more work.

    I am almost certain that, over time, the builtin choices for Automation actions, and how to connect them, will grow.
     

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