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AppleScript: The Missing Manual 1st Edition

3.6 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0596008505
ISBN-10: 0596008503
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Adam Goldstein got his programming start in Kindergarten, when he first played around with Logo on an old Apple II. Through middle school, Adam wrote useless but amusing HyperCard programs. Nowadays, he runs GoldfishSoft, a shareware company that makes games and utilities for Mac OS X. Adam was a technical editor for O'Reilly's best-selling Mac OS X: The Missing Manual, and an editor for Mac OS X Panther Power User. When he's not writing books or code, Adam attends MIT.

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Product Details

  • Series: Missing Manual
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (February 10, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596008503
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596008505
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #864,752 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
[...]AppleScript: The Missing Manual by Adam Goldstein is part of the Missing Manual series of beginner/intermediate books published by Pogue Press/O'Reilly and Associates. The focus of this book series is on computer products that have been released without adequate printed manuals (Mac OS X, iLife '04, Google, iPod and iTunes, Windows XP, Windows 2K among others). Their newest release, AppleScript: The Missing Manual, is a welcome addition to their catalog of smart, funny and user-friendly books.
AppleScript is a scripting language that mimics the syntax of English. As such, it's extremely similar to how sentences are structured and, as a result, is very intuitive and simple to use. However, this doesn't belie the fact that it's a very powerful tool for automation.
Goldstein's Missing Manual is an exciting newcomer to the meager collection of AppleScript introductory volumes. This book covers the current Mac OS 10.3 (Panther) release of AppleScript and includes multimedia support, GUI scripting and AppleScript Studio. While it is intended for the beginner and intermediate user, power-hounds will also find many tricks, tips and hidden tools within its pages.
The book is divided into four parts: "AppleScript Overview", "Everyday Scripting Tasks", "Power-User Features" and "Appendixes".
Part One begins with the usual suspects: where to find the AppleScript folder in Mac OS X, how to enable the script menu and the surprising number of useful scripts you'll find there. In just a few pages, Goldstein hands the reader a collection of valuable scripts that were hiding in OS X Panther all along (I particularly like the "ransom note" script).
Part Two is the main core of the book and covers "Everyday Scripting Tasks".
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Format: Paperback
This is not a "manual" in any sense of the word. A manual tells you how, where, and when. This is more like a tour guide of Applescript. Sure there are scripts, but few of them make the Mac easier to use than its own OSX interface. The information is presented in such a scattered form, that it is hard to follow for very long, and therefore hard to learn. It's like trying to learn to be a chef by watching the Cooking Channel.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ok, I confess it. I am a programmer. My desire was pretty simple. I wanted a book that would show me all of the parts of Applescript and how to use them.

This is NOT that book. You can see the sample scripts but very little explains how to take that information to make scripts of your own.

This book has lots of sample scripts, but since I am not interested in scripting those applications, it isn't helpful to me.

Perhpas I just wanted too much, but I sent this book back.
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Format: Paperback
Pros: Humorous, Easy To Read, Numerous Good Examples

Cons: Teaches primarily by example, Little rigorous treatment of the language itself

Recommended for: People with no programming experience who want to automate their Mac and beginning programmers who want to learn the basic principles of programming in an easy-to-learn language

The author, a high school student, gives us a good introductory book about AppleScript. It stays true to the "Missing Manual" philosophy in that if the average Mac user found it in the box with their new Mac, they wouldn't be turned off by it.

However, given the lackluster reception that Automator received with the release of Tiger, it seems to me that the potential audience of people with limited programming experience who want to automate their mac is quite limited. Therefore, I think that the ideal audience for this book is beginning programmers who want to learn the fundamental, and universal, concepts of programming using an easy-to-understand language that is already available on their computer.

Chapter 1 shows how to enable the Script Menu and walks us through each script therein. Chapter 2 shows how to launch and use the Script Editor to open, modify and save scripts. These 2 chapters provide an introduction to what is already installed on each new Mac.

Chapter 3 is the first chapter that begins to introduce the language itself. This chapter introduces dialog boxes and the "tell" statement for controlling other applications. This chapter also introduces the concept of "dictionaries." Dictionaries are the essence of AppleScript in that they outline every command and variable of each program that is AppleScriptable.
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Format: Paperback
"AppleScript: The missing manual" is complete and will teach you the basic of AppleScript to the point where you can write your own script to accomplish all kinds of tasks.
The book is pleasently only 325 pages and can be assimilated rather quickly.
The book provides automation examples for a lot of standard Mac fonctionalities and also some third party applications.

I only gave it 3 stars for two reasons.

First I am not a big fan of the style of the author. When I want to learn something I favor an academic style, I find it easier to assimilate things that way. "AppleScript: The missing manual" is written like if it was an everyday conversation however with opinion and jokes.

Second and this is my main complaint, this is a book written mainly by example. There is no real description of syntax of the language at all not even the basic basics. So in order to get a feel for the language you need to read plenty of samples and try to undestand what the author is doing.

I would not recommend this book for any professional or advanced developper who are looking to learn what AppleScript is or how to use AppleScript. This book could however be a good addition for those that want to see example of how AppleScript can be use.
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