Saturday, November 23, 2002

MDJ on AppleScript and SpamSieve

MDJ 2002.11.22’s coverage of SpamSieve 1.2.2 makes some interesting points about how “AppleScript is making componentized software possible, with only Apple missing out on the benefits”:

Developers are often surprised that a good AppleScript implementation turns out to be a better idea than a check-off item on a feature list. When done properly, AppleScript lets sufficiently technical users add their own features to programs. For example, iTunes will never include features like posting your current song to a Weblog, unchecking all songs in a given playlist, or renaming MP3 files by artist and track name, but you can do all those things right now by using AppleScripts (such as those from Doug Adams’s page). Thousands of people around the world customize their mail clients with AppleScript, adding features that work for them but that no developer will implement for a mass market, including complex filtering and triggering other programs based on incoming mail content.

There’s no better example of these benefits than SpamSieve 1.2.2, the latest update to Michael Tsai’s US$20 spam filtering application for Mailsmith, PowerMail, and Entourage, now also for Eudora and even Emailer (though, as a Mac OS X-only program, it only works with Emailer running in the Classic environment).

[discussion of SpamSieve omitted]

Thanks to AppleScript and SpamSieve’s support of the top five scriptable E-mail clients, you can use any of these programs and retain your customized spam filtering. Want to move to Entourage from Eudora? Just add SpamSieve’s scripts and go—the thousands of messages you’ve already trained keep working for you in the new client. At first, we thought E-mail clients should build in functionality like SpamSieve, but the more clients it supports, the more flexibility you have. In fact, only one major Mac OS X E-mail client is ineligible for SpamSieve’s filtering because it’s not scriptable and can’t run an AppleScript from a filter: Apple’s own Mail application. It’s also the only client with its own high-profile spam filtering that’s implemented as part of Mac OS X 10.2, but is so closed that no one even knows how it works (Apple only admits it’s “adaptive latent semantic analysis,” whatever that is) and no other program can use it.

You know something’s weird in Cupertino when standards-gonzo Apple has a proprietary and closed solution, and the one that’s documented and supports all the other programs won’t work with Apple’s Mail because the company won’t support its own scripting technology. It’s yet another reason not to get tied into Apple’s not-quite-full-strength E-mail client.

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