Sunday, October 2, 2011

App Sandboxing Risks Eroding the Mac’s Identity

Andy Ihnatko:

It took me a few weeks to realize something: the whole point of sandboxing is to isolate all of the processes running in your system, and prevent any one of them from interacting in any way with any other process. Annnnd… controlling all of the apps and functions on your Mac is the whole point of Mac OS X’s automation features.

Can AppleScript and Automator have any future on an operating system where every app is surrounded by an impenetrable steel shell of distrust?

That question is seeming more and more rhetorical.

Recently I had an idea for a tool that would make my life much easier and it required some scripting of the Preview app. In all my years of avid scripting, I’ve never done anything with that app before and so it came as a surprise when I tried to open its dictionary with the AppleScript editor and I discovered that it had none.

This has long struck me as a strange omission. Preview could be an example of how great Mac OS X scripting is, but it doesn’t even support the most basic AppleScript features that are built into the Cocoa frameworks. (There’s a way to enable the default window and document scripting support, if you don’t mind replacing Apple’s code signature with yours.) The excellent PDFpen is scriptable, but Preview does lots more than handle PDFs.

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Apple has given true automation only half hearted support for years. (Sorry - Automator is great but really only handles a few common features) Part of me keeps hoping that they'll replace Applescript with something robust. Honestly though I think their main target are consumers who just don't care about Applescript. When an Apple product gets Applescript it sometimes seems like it was some eager employees doing it on their own. I mean Apple's spreadsheet has been out how long? And you still can't so much as create a new document except by using GUI scripting hacks. And that's a freaking spreadsheet program!!!!!

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