Here’s the thing: the idea behind AppleScript is actually very cool. That I can write a (theoretically) simple program that harnesses the power of several applications on my computer is the Next Frontier in Computing (Apple is not the only company doing this stuff). Now Apple even has a program called Automator to handle some of these tasks without you ever having to write any code. That’s a good thing, because AppleScript the language really, really blows. So much for the next frontier. It’s like the covered wagon is being pulled by an armadillo.
The temptation of AppleScript is that I need to take information from iBlog and convert it to a format that WordPress can use. AppleScript makes it really simple to ask iBlog for its data, already set up and accessible. Cool. Then we get to the part where we have to make AppleScript do useful things to the data. Uh oh. Welcome to the worst programming language ever created.
Sometimes with familiarity one learns that although a different language might do things a different way, it has its own strengths. Perl, for instance, is a text monster, but makes sacrifices to be one (so I’m told). AppleScript occupies a unique position in the programming world as I know it by doing everything badly. I challenged myself tonight to come up with one good thing to say about it. For perspective, when I try I can even think of good things to say about Microsoft and the Yankees. Not AppleScript. It’s like Apple is intentionally hiding powerful capabilities I know are there, built into the operating system. Not only that, it hides simple abilities that I can use in any other comparable scripting environment. AppleScript doesn’t want me to get my work done.
On top of that my task this time is made harder by iBlog’s grinding horrible slowness. Is nothing at all happening because I made a mistake, or is iBlog just off smelling the roses right now? What I want to do is exactly what AppleScript and iBlog’s script support were designed for, and I’ve already written some text functions that every other comparable environment has built-in, yet in the end I’ve been wasting my time. Now it’s time to bring in the big guns. Doing this the hard way turns out to be simpler than doing it the easy way. Go figure.
I will be doing a series of propellerhead articles documenting the migration from iBlog to WordPress. The articles might be interesting to someone if I wasn’t the only one on the planet still using iBlog.
Actually, Cousin Andrew still uses iblog. So there are actually two people on the planet using it.
I find AppleScript very useful if all I’m doing is scripting two applications together or asking one application to do something on its own; if I end up wanting to write a program in AppleScript it’s less useful.
For example, automatically trimming a banner (GraphicConverter) and uploading it (CyberDuck); or importing vinyl into iTunes.
If you’re doing programming in the script, you might find appscript useful (http://appscript.sourceforge.net/). I use the Python version regularly to transfer between FileMaker and Django. (Make sure you download ASTranslate to more easily translate AppleScript code to Python code.)
I really should look into other languages to use with the script system, but every time I want to do a “quick task” with AppleScript it doesn’t seem worth the effort. I really should get over that hump. The fundamental limitations of the script system would still be there, but at least I wouldn’t be using the most poorly-designed programming language ever. I’ll check out appscript.
Yep, I still use iBlog. I tried to update to the newest version after updating OSX, but really didn’t like the way it looked.