PRO: Excellent tutorial and reference for both Automator & AppleScript
CON: I found the figures hard to read and not all were scaled the same
Moose Rating: 5
Review posted at :[...]
The dictionary included as part of the Snow Leopard OS defines the informal meaning of the word "Bible" as any authoritative book. I would agree that Wiley has used this term appropriately in titling this book by Thomas Myer. This book tackles both Automator and Applescript and effectively describes how the two can complement each other. I have read many books and articles on AppleScript and I find that it can be quite daunting as the information available doesn't seem to get updated as frequently as books for iLife or iWork for example.
This book is updated to include changes to Automator and AppleScript for the Snow Leopard operating system so it is a current book. I really liked the flow of the book starting with the Qucik Start chapter. This was a really nice feature because this book is a daunting 540 pages. I have a couple of other books about the same size and they just dive in and you can get lost very quickly. The Quick Start chapter allows the reader to see what Automator and AppleScript can do and the differences between the two methods of automating tasks on the Mac. Myer also explained Automation and why you might want it in the following chapter. I liked this and could relate to his explanation of Automation. After all, in our busy lives we need help making our lives easier and less hectic. Repetitive tasks on a computer can be boring and often as result can result in errors. This book inspired many ideas for better cataloguing my photos and playing my iTunes music. One example that is shown is how to rename files and to take it a step further with photos. I am horrible at organizing my files but with the help of Automator, instead of loading them directly into iPhoto, I could run my Automation workflow, this could be run as a workflow, an application or a plug-in, and pre process my files and then more than likely add them to iPhoto. I need to try the last step later to make sure it will work. This way instead of IMG-0235, you could have a filename like 2010-Family_Vacation-0235. And you can do more than one change to a file at a time, like changing the labels for all photos to a specific color, making a pdf contact sheet by making the photos into thumbnails. This really excites me. I feel now I can use my Mac to help be organized and that is the whole point. Another Automation task I thought of is that I have over 30GB of music. I always seem to play the same songs over and over, well with AppleScript, I could create a playlist that I haven't played or haven't played in over 60 days. The possibilities are endless. If when you are reading you are having problems thinking of ways to Automate, chapters 15-19 are full of projects which of course you can modify to your liking. Wiley makes the code examples available online so you don't need to type them all in which is a nice bonus. The author did a very good job of the Appendices of this book, this is just not extra pages stuck at the end of the book to make it bigger. There is great information here for you to further increase your knowledge of Automator and AppleScript. The reader level of this book is from Beginner to Advanced, I would agree with this. For the novice this will be a learning curve but there are many examples to reference. I liked this book and will be using it to re-write the AppleScript that I use to post this review for AAUG. It was my first attempt at a big script and it needs a bit of rework. The author looks at AppleScript Studio in X-Code briefly, it is nice that he covers it even though it could probably be a whole other book in itself. Many books I have read previously do not cover it at all.
In closing, I think this is one of the best Automator and AppleScript books available today.