Friday, May 13, 2005


One of the new features in Mac OSX 10.4 (Tiger) is called Automator. This is a great concept, but not really very new.

For those of you who know me, I was part of a team at ICOM who came up with the idea of a feature called Action/Reaction. It was sort of a visual scripting that was built into a product we worked on called WinView. An Action might be a button on the screen, and a Reaction might be to switch to another page.

With Automator, every program running on the system can potentially have Actions. That Action probably has an output, where you can string another Action to it. The result of one or more Actions strung together is called a Workflow, which can be saved. I noticed that you can even download a workflow. Apple has had something called Applesript for a long time, as a way of getting programs to talk to one another for automating tasks. This goes a step farther, being more visual and less "programmatic". This is a great feature for an operating system. Even if you don't use this feature, it's really nice to know it's there.

A long, long time ago, Windows had something called a Macro Recorder. But, it's long gone now. It provided something similar, but not quite as precise.

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