Monday, March 30, 2015

Fantastical and Multiple Events

Dr. Drang:

So I’ve tried to come up with ways to make entering several similar calendar entries as painless as possible. Back when I was using TextMate, I had a system in which I entered one event per line with pipe characters (|) separating the description, date, time, duration, and location fields. These would then be converted into an .ics file and imported into iCal. That worked fairly well, but errors were sometimes hard to catch because the pipe separators made the lines noisy and difficult to read.

Enter Fantastical and its natural language parsing. Even better, enter Fantastical’s small but powerful AppleScript dictionary that allows you to write programs that use its NLP.


Is writing a file with a bunch of lines like this really easier than just typing them directly into Fantastical’s entry field? That depends on the power of your text editor and how good you are at exploiting that power. The lines have a lot of repeated text, and if you’re good at using things like copy-and-paste, search-and-replace, column editing, and multiple cursors, you’ll probably find that entering 15–20 lines in a file is distinctly faster.

It’s kind of like using a BBEdit shell worksheet. There’s a point—in between entering the commands manually and writing a script to generate them all—where it makes sense to construct them in an interactive editor and then execute all the lines.

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