This article originally appeared in TidBITS on 2003-12-08 at 12:00 p.m.
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AppleScript Gets a Truly Definitive Guide

by Matt Neuburg

AppleScript is Apple's system-level programming language for driving and automating applications. It was first made available as an option for the ill-fated System 7 Pro in late 1993; shortly thereafter Apple came to its senses and AppleScript has been present in every new system and on every new Mac since then. Meanwhile, the lack of proper documentation for AppleScript has been astounding. Danny Goodman made an early attempt, but it wasn't up to the standard of his brilliant HyperCard book, and Apple's own manual is often surprisingly vague, allusive, and incomplete.

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Which brings us to my latest book, AppleScript: The Definitive Guide, published by O'Reilly & Associates. AppleScript is a fairly small language, but I was amazed by how difficult it was to write this book! It took more than twice as long as I'd expected. My approach, as readers of my Frontier and REALbasic books know, is not to rely on documentation, but to bang away at the language itself, testing and experimenting, trying to deduce the underlying rules. Well, the underlying rules of AppleScript turn out to be really strange. As a result, my book contains a great deal of material I never knew before and have never seen documented elsewhere. And, needless to say, I present it all in my usual ruthlessly Euclidean manner - with the usual measure of hidden humor, of course.


This book teaches AppleScript to beginners and explains it to experts; it's an assessment, a guide, and a reference. If you've been curious all these years, or want to get into AppleScript for whatever reason (perhaps to take advantage of AppleScript Studio to write your own apps), or if you're an AppleScript user but would like to put your understanding on firmer ground, I hope you'll consider asking Santa for AppleScript: The Definitive Guide. It lists for $40, but you can get it for $28 at Amazon and support TidBITS with the affiliate percentage at the same time.

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