why is automator so hard to use?

biohazard6969

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 23, 2005
836
0
toronto canada
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
 

andysmith

macrumors 6502
Sep 24, 2004
342
0
West Mids, UK
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 :)
 

oingoboingo

macrumors 6502a
Jul 31, 2003
988
0
Sydney, Australia
The D Man said:
The D Man agrees.

Automator is not so great

:mad:

Dashboard on the other hand :)
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.
 

brap

macrumors 68000
May 10, 2004
1,701
0
Nottingham
I found this too. Automator was far from intuitive, whereas I jumped straight into Quartz Composer withut a second look...
 

biohazard6969

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 23, 2005
836
0
toronto canada
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
 

iMetalG5

macrumors 6502a
Apr 13, 2005
786
0
i haven't even attempted to use it yet. i want to but don't really know where to start...
 

JediL1

macrumors member
Apr 12, 2003
68
0
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.
 

mashinhead

macrumors 68030
Oct 7, 2003
2,610
281
oingoboingo said:
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.
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.
 

sigamy

macrumors 65816
Mar 7, 2003
1,300
2
NJ USA
biohazard_6969 said:
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
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.
 

DavidLeblond

macrumors 68020
Jan 6, 2004
2,198
286
Raleigh, NC
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.
 

Lacero

macrumors 604
Jan 20, 2005
6,639
2
Sky Blue said:
DO you have to open automator to run actions?
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.
 

Sky Blue

Guest
Jan 8, 2005
6,860
10
Also, are there any automator websites other than apples for downloading some actions
 

Sky Blue

Guest
Jan 8, 2005
6,860
10
Lacero said:
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.

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.
 

snickelfritz

macrumors 65816
Oct 24, 2003
1,109
0
Tucson AZ
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.
 

DXoverDY

macrumors 6502a
Apr 19, 2005
810
0
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.
 

DXoverDY

macrumors 6502a
Apr 19, 2005
810
0
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
 

DavidLeblond

macrumors 68020
Jan 6, 2004
2,198
286
Raleigh, NC
DXoverDY said:
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.
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.
 

scionfriar

macrumors member
Apr 26, 2005
35
0
Is there a way to tell automator to run a workflow at a specific time...basically a cron job? Thanks.
 

DXoverDY

macrumors 6502a
Apr 19, 2005
810
0
DavidLeblond said:
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.
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.
 

DavidLeblond

macrumors 68020
Jan 6, 2004
2,198
286
Raleigh, NC
DXoverDY said:
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.
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
 

Sky Blue

Guest
Jan 8, 2005
6,860
10
DavidLeblond said:
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.

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