why is automator so hard to use?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by biohazard6969, May 4, 2005.

  1. biohazard6969 macrumors 6502a

    biohazard6969

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Location:
    toronto canada
    #1
    ok, automator seems great, but i can't find any uses for it!!! does anyone know of a site/thread that could either teach me situations to use it in, or maybe MR members could suggest some ways. i rele want to take full advantage of tiger
     
  2. andysmith macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2004
    Location:
    West Mids, UK
    #2
    It's really quite easy once you get the hang of it. For example, this one I wrote can be executed from the Finder (File > Save as Plugin), will take the selected files, sort them by date, and add a 3 digit number to start of the file name.

    If you bought online, the easiest way to get to understand it is watch the seminar :)
     
  3. The D Man macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 4, 2005
    #3
    The D Man agrees.

    Automator is not so great

    :mad:

    Dashboard on the other hand :)
     
  4. oingoboingo macrumors 6502a

    oingoboingo

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2003
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #4
    Wow, and here I was thinking Dashboard was nothing more than BS eyecandy. Calendar? No thanks, got one already...just down there in the Dock. Calculator? Same. Address book? Same. iTunes? Same. Clock? Not quite...it's up in the menubar.

    Each to their own I suppose.
     
  5. brap macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Location:
    Nottingham
    #5
    I found this too. Automator was far from intuitive, whereas I jumped straight into Quartz Composer withut a second look...
     
  6. biohazard6969 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    biohazard6969

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Location:
    toronto canada
    #6
    yea but the seminar only teaches one example and its the same one that you just showed me....i think that particular one works great, but i can't seem to find any other uses for it
     
  7. iMetalG5 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2005
    #7
    i haven't even attempted to use it yet. i want to but don't really know where to start...
     
  8. JediL1 macrumors member

    JediL1

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2003
    #8
    Automator definately has a learning curve to it. It takes some time playing with it and maybe going through some examples online to get the hang of it.

    After that it gets pretty useful and really saves a lot of time on repetitive stuff.
     
  9. mashinhead macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2003
    #9
    agreed, i thought the point of dashboard was to remove programs like ituens and ical from the dock and clear space. but the dashboard objects have limited functionality. I can't use the itunes widget to see the entire music library and choose what i want, and i can't use the calender to access i cal or see what i did that day, so those programs remain in my dock, and i don't see the point of the widgets.
     
  10. Lacero macrumors 604

    Lacero

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    #10
    j/k. Automator is awesome!

    Automator is definitely easier to program than Applescript. Here's a tutorial to turn a webpage into spoken text that gets placed on your iPod for listening in your car.


    Listen to your favorite websites on your iPod
     
  11. sigamy macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2003
    Location:
    NJ USA
    #11
    What about the type of examples that have been given in the WWDC and Macworld demos? They did some cool things with iLife. It pretty easy for us to take some images and upload them to .mac or some other web server but this can be difficult and time consuming for non-Geeks.

    You can write some Automater actions to take an album of photos out of iPhoto, create an HTML page and then upload that to a server. Then your non-Geek friends & family can just click one button and have their new pictures available on the web.

    Another idea is to see if you can write a backup type program. Prompt the user for which folder(s) to backup, tell them to put in a CD or DVD and then copy the files over and burn the disk. Not sure if all this can be done in Automater yet.

    There are a bunch of "find album artwork" macros in iTunes but I may look into making a better one.

    And finally, see if I can tie Image Capture into iPhoto so that I can scan pics directly from iPhoto and have them automatically imported.
     
  12. Sky Blue Guest

    Sky Blue

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2005
    #12
    DO you have to open automator to run actions?
     
  13. DavidLeblond macrumors 68020

    DavidLeblond

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    #13
    Automator really disappointed me. They made it so easy looking on the demonstrations (I guess its easy to do anything if you have a script) but I tried doing some simple stuff and couldn't figure it out at all. Writing straight Applescript is more intuitive then that thing.
     
  14. Lacero macrumors 604

    Lacero

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    #14
    No. You can run it from Automator, or you can save it as a Applescript menu item or as a plugin for various system services, such as Finder and Print. There's about 6-7 different services you can attach Automator workflows to.
     
  15. Sky Blue Guest

    Sky Blue

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2005
    #15
    Also, are there any automator websites other than apples for downloading some actions
     
  16. Sky Blue Guest

    Sky Blue

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2005
    #16

    oh ok, thats good. I wanted to make an action that when run, stops itunes playing, updates my ipod and ejects it...but there's not much point if i have to open Atr up to run it.
     
  17. snickelfritz macrumors 65816

    snickelfritz

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    Location:
    Tucson AZ
    #17
    I've used automator to add Spotlight comments to images, making them easier to find.
    Works really well for stuff like this.
    Workflows involving multiple applications are a little more difficult to setup though.
    I tried to build a workflow that downloads images from my camera to the pictures directory, tags them with spotlight comments, moves them to a directory on another drive then opens them in Preview. So far, this has not been 100% successful, but I'm sure I'll get it sorted out.
     
  18. DXoverDY macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    #18
    The idea here is to look at what you want to do. Can Automator do it? Then think the problem out.

    For example, someone wanted to take a folder, move all files ending with *mp3|MP3|Mp3 and move them to another folder.

    Ok... so you're doing things with files that means Finder. so Load up Automator (my biggest disappointment is the loading time). in the Library section click Finder, then you get all actions related to Finder in the column right next to it. Ok... so you have files you want to change.. how do you get those files? Finder is the start, "Find Finder Items" has this to say. in the panel below the library and action menu it has "This action let's you search for items with the specified criteria" and also says "Input (Files/Folders)" and "Result (Files/Folders)".. or output instead of result so you get it.

    so what that means is you can only attach this action between 2 other actions whose output is files/folders on the top, and takes input from files/folders below this action. otherwise the input part doesn't matter so much to us if it's first in line.

    so drag and drop the Find Finder Items to the workflow area. it shows up with a few options... ok select where the files are... whose extension contains "mp3" ...

    next we need to move these files.. so... that's also a finder action.. lo and behold there's "Move Finder Items" in that list as well. clicking on it reveals...

    "This action moves the Finder items to the specified location"
    Input: (Files/Folders)
    Output(result): (Files/Folders

    well since we have the Find Finder Items already in there, and if you look in the bottom right corner of that action it has "Files/Folders" as output... while Move Finder Items has "Files/Folders" as input.. they match... drag and drop your "Move Finder Items" to the workflow area below the last one.

    Now select a To: location and run the workflow and any files that match the original query of the filename extension (or anything else you changed) will be moved to any location you want...

    same thing.. say you have a bunch of files you want to email to someone.. say JPG files. find them using Find Finder Items.. then add a "New Mail Mesage" under the Mail library. the New Mail Message takes files and folders as an input, which our Find Finder items outputs.

    if you think about it, it's really not hard. just realize you won't be able to pop out anything you want. the actions take inputs and produce outputs.. the actions have to meet each of those guidelines. the help pane in the bottom left corner provides that information to you.
     
  19. DXoverDY macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    #19
    if you have anything in particular you want to do, post it here and me or someone else will run through and give you a detailed instruction on how to do it. if you do post something you're having a problem with, give me some time.. spring semester just started monday so im busy now. :p
     
  20. DavidLeblond macrumors 68020

    DavidLeblond

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    #20
    Thats a problem though. I wanted to make an automator workflow that would look in my iTunes Music Library Folder (not the library itself) and see which files in that folder were NOT in the actual iTunes Music Library and delete them. I've been trying to find an applescript that would do this, and I thought "hey I'm no good at writing Applescript (funny I can write C, C++, Perl, Python, VB, etc etc but not Applescript) I'll do it with automator"

    Couldn't do it. Needless to say, Automator isn't going to hold a permanant place in my dock just yet.
     
  21. scionfriar macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2005
    #21
    Is there a way to tell automator to run a workflow at a specific time...basically a cron job? Thanks.
     
  22. DXoverDY macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    #22
    iCal can execute them
     
  23. DXoverDY macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    #23
    well your idea is fundamentally flawed anyway. you would need to get the filename of the item in the itunes search and then compare to the filename you got via finder.
     
  24. DavidLeblond macrumors 68020

    DavidLeblond

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    #24
    Fundamentally flawed? Your suggestion is the exact thing I was describing. Thats like saying "A sharp knife? Thats fundamentally flawed! It should be pointy!" :D
     
  25. Sky Blue Guest

    Sky Blue

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2005
    #25

    I would love to run this to if you ever get it working
     

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