Lately, I've been working with a large customer to prototype the use of Macs to see if they are a viable alternative to the Windows based platform that they have standardized on in the past. You and I know this to be the case, but they need some convincing. One of the most compelling things for the users at this customer appears to be the use of Automator to automate their individual workflows.
First of all, the users I am dealing with are not programmers, but somehow when they see Automator they immediately get how it could help them get their jobs done. The problem I've had is that a lot of what these folks do involves querying multiple web sites and passing data from the results of one query to the next.
Certainly, any specific workflow could be implemented in code by a developer, but what I really want to do is to figure out a way to provide them with the tools they need to be able to build their own custom workflows.
Well, necessity is a good teacher, and so lately I have been developing a lot of Automator actions to fill in the gaps I've seen in the built-in actions and third party additions. I've also become interested in how I can use GUI scripting to enable users to more easily help themselves.
Over the next several posts, I'll share some of my actions, talk about finally getting my head around AppleScript, and head down the GUI scripting road. Perhaps some of you will share some of your own experiences too. It would be great to hear from you.
Here are some good links I've found regarding Automator and AppleScript:
AppleScript: The Definitive Guide, 2nd Edition