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AppleScript: The Missing Manual [Paperback]

by Adam Goldstein
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Book Description

February 7, 2005 0596008503 978-0596008505 1

From newspapers to NASA, Mac users around the world use AppleScript to automate their daily computing routines. Famed for its similarity to English and its ease of integration with other programs, AppleScript is the perfect programming language for time-squeezed Mac fans. As beginners quickly realize, however, AppleScript has one major shortcoming: it comes without a manual.No more. You don't need a degree in computer science, a fancy system administrator title, or even a pocket protector and pair of nerdy glasses to learn the Mac's most popular scripting language; you just need the proper guide at your side. AppleScript: The Missing Manual is that guide.Brilliantly compiled by author Adam Goldstein, AppleScript: The Missing Manual is brimming with useful examples. You'll learn how to clean up your Desktop with a single click, for example, and how to automatically optimize pictures for a website. Along the way, you ll learn the overall grammar of AppleScript, so you can write your own customized scripts when you feel the need.Naturally, AppleScript: The Missing Manual isn't merely for the uninitiated scripter. While its hands-on approach certainly keeps novices from feeling intimidated, this comprehensive guide is also suited for system administrators, web and graphics professionals, musicians, scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and others who need to learn the ins and outs of AppleScript for their daily work.Thanks to AppleScript: The Missing Manual, the path from consumer to seasoned script has never been clearer. Now you, too, can automate your Macintosh in no time.


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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.


Product Details

  • Series: Missing Manual
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (February 7, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596008503
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596008505
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #759,700 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Missing Manual Hit February 9, 2005
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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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More like a travel guide October 21, 2005
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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42 of 49 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for you if you are a programmer.... August 3, 2005
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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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A bit off the mark... September 19, 2005
Format:Paperback
As a long time hobbyist, im not really impressed. This book doesn't really touch on too many of the 'hard' issues one would face when first getting started with applescript. The languages syntax, for example, is not as intuitive as its description suggests. Its english like, but its not english, and english takes a decade or so to master.

The book says little about the language, and a disproportionately large part of it is just a series of example scripts categorized by the programs being scripted.

This book is more like the answers to the test than the course that would prepare you for the test. I learned close to nothing from it.

Im sure it has its place, but as someone pretty familiar with programming, I find that practical examples _aswell as_ some deeper, language directed discussion is nessesary to get anything other than a weak grasp on any language. Especially a language as slippery as applescript. But I guess I got what I paid for... its a pretty cheap book.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Book For Beginning Programmers October 20, 2005
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't beat yourself up if you are not writing code after reading this
I took this book out of the library three different times, hoping to write some small scripts to pave over some minor Mac peeves I had. Read more
Published on June 15, 2009 by David Fonseca
4.0 out of 5 stars Great introduction
I have not programming background, but I do like automating as many tasks on my computer as possibly can. Read more
Published on June 2, 2008 by Bakari Chavanu
5.0 out of 5 stars Great beginner reference
Once again, the Missing Manual series comes to the rescue. Anyone wanting a comprehendible primer on Applescript should look no further. Read more
Published on April 28, 2008 by Ty Cox
3.0 out of 5 stars Hard to follow
"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. Read more
Published on December 26, 2007 by E. Weber
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough and Good for the programmer as well as the novice....
This book is loaded with information from A-Z in AppleScript. I am a programmer. I read the other reviews by programmers who said the book "wasn't enough". Read more
Published on August 23, 2007 by Kathryn L. Tate
2.0 out of 5 stars Okay for beginners, not for programmers.
This book is very basic and doesn't really get into any depth. Rather than teaching the fundamentals of AppleScript, it's more of a guided tour to what you can accomplish with... Read more
Published on June 3, 2007 by rjpryan
2.0 out of 5 stars OK as an introduction but lacks depth
"Applescript - the missing manual" is OK as an introduction to the basics of Applescript - it explains how to edit & run a script, gives a feel for what applescript looks like and... Read more
Published on February 23, 2007 by William Keogh
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for Intermediate Programmers or Beginners
As have other reviewers, I found this book gives enough information to get me in trouble or to get me frustrated but doesn't give enough details or explanations or even examples to... Read more
Published on December 10, 2006 by Neil Stahl
5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent book for anyone who wants to learn to use applescript
this is just a great book im not sure where to begin this review. i am new to programming and i wanted to start off small and applescript seemed like just the thing. Read more
Published on May 10, 2006 by Mark Dymek
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