AppleWorks AppleScript Purpose




BareFeetWare has been working on AppleScript in AppleWorks since 1996. With bugs various versions of AppleWorks/ClarisWorks along the way, why have we bothered?

The aim of this web site is to:
    1. Introduce Mac users who have never touched AppleScript to the potential at their finger tips.
    2. Provide a solid basis for scripters to approach the development of a script, rather than the all too common hit and miss approach.
    3. Store a range of precompiled scripts, effectively AppleWorks plug-ins, to add functionality for all users without any AppleScript involvement.
    4. Catalog sample scripts as a guide to solving specific needs.
    5. Catalog the holes in AppleScript's AppleScript support as a quick reference for what works and what doesn't (but should) and work arounds.
    6. Increase the market for AppleScript support in AppleWorks to prompt the developers to improve it.
    7. Promote BareFeetWare's AppleScript services. Please inquire about contracting BareFeetWare to build an AppleScript solution to enhance your work flow.

We have been considering AppleScript support in AppleWorks for a few years and have drawn some conclusions as to why it should be a pivotal focus, rather than just a side issue.

AppleScript support in AppleWorks is not just another feature. The current foundation of the AppleScript support in AppleWorks has great potential (and has improved a lot in version 6). It opens up AppleWorks to a world of possibilities.

Several groups will benefit:
    1. End users of AppleWorks and scripts
    2. Scripters
    3. AppleWorks developers
    4. AppleWorks sales
    5. AppleScript platform

Let's look at each.

End users
Plug in scripts can be used by anyone, without need to edit the script. Installation is just drag and drop. Scripts are not a long term replacement for core implemented features, but they provide:

    1. Quick provision of many wanted features. With pervasive AppleScript support, a requested new feature in AppleWorks could be implemented by a third party or the AppleWorks user community in as little as an hour or two. Some early examples are already appearing, even hindered by the current "holes" in the AppleWorks syntax.

    2. Streamlining and customization of work flow.

    3. Integration with other applications to make the Mac an overall work flow solution. It can interact with an email client, the Finder, a web server, FTP client, QuickTime tools, almost anything.

    4. Specialized features which are too of little use to the masses but a significant help to a few. The core developer could not possibly cater to all users idiosyncrasies, but scripts can.

    5. Many users will cross the line into scripting because it's so easy to modify an existing script to change a string, color or condition. Customization is quick, even for the end user.

There are scripters eager to jump on board, until now hindered by the frustrations of the "holes" in the AppleScript syntax. Our AppleWorks site has thousands of hits during its short existence. Some user comments are well worth reviewing.

AppleWorks Developers
Thriving AppleWorks script development provides a test bed for new features to be requested, tested and refined, many of which can be included in the next revision of the core product. The core AppleWorks developers get all of the prototype development and user feedback for zero development time, support and accountability.

The core developers are freed to work on fundamental object properties (eg variable cell borders, print image of rotated text) which AppleScript cannot provide but can use.

AppleWorks sales
Scripts will facilitate package solutions, driving the core product into new markets. A simple CGI script could see AppleWorks boom as a low end web shopping cart solution, or a database to drawing script may open up needs in the CAD arena.

AppleWorks will be a serious contender as an corporate office suite, while retaining its stand out simplicity, integration and low foot print. Many of the reasons of why many users prefer Microsoft Office will no longer be an issue, and, more importantly, AppleWorks will have superior extendibility.

AppleScript platform
AppleWorks is a rich environment of extensive features and data types. Providing thorough AppleScript support in it will raise AppleScript's profile markedly. Consider:

    1. A scripter familiar with just the AppleWorks dictionary can code a solution which spans spreadsheet, charts, word processing, database, slide shows, HTML, drawing and so on.

    2. AppleScript hinges on the support in applications. If no applications supported it, AppleScript would be useless. Conversely, the more evident the AppleScript support, the greater its accessibility and prominence. Since AppleWorks ships on all new Macs (at least consumer level) or is cheaply purchased, most users can have access to a powerful tool

    3. The user interacts with AppleWorks in an object oriented way. For instance, text is in a text frame in the drawing area of the front document. This makes AppleWorks an ideal environment to teach the principles of scripting to new comers.

Please email us any queries about this page, or add your comments about this project.