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AppleScript makes a comeback in Numbers

Ben Waldie | Jan. 24, 2014
Back in November, I wrote about the growing concern in the Mac community that Apple might be abandoning AppleScript. The occasion was the virtual removal of AppleScript support from the iWork apps (Keynote, Numbers, and Pages). At the time, I stressed that Mac users should remain calm, that this was nothing new, that the level of AppleScript support in any given app had always ebbed and flowed from release to release.

Years from now, I'd love to be able to look back and see that this Numbers update served as a turning point in the long and arduous lifespan of AppleScript and Apple automation as a whole. Returning AppleScript support to Keynote and Pages are important next steps, but there are still loads of other Apple apps and features in OS X with limited or no scripting support. Why not implement scripting support across the board, making a statement that encourages third-party Mac developers to do the same?

While Automator has wonderful potential as an end-user (translation: non-programmer) tool for automating tasks throughout OS X, it has languished for years and continues to be plagued by limited functionality and broken actions. And iOS developers still have no sanctioned way for their apps to talk with one another. I wish Apple would embrace a consistent approach to inter-app automation, something both Mac and iOS users have been clamoring for.

If that resonates with you, you can do something about it: Continue to let Apple know when you run into scripting and other productivity bugs and limitations. If you're a developer, submit your tickets through Apple's Bug Reporter system. Otherwise, use Apple's Product Feedback pages.

For now, kudos to Apple for taking this much needed step in the direction of greater productivity on the Mac. But the return of scripting support in Numbers is only a start.


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