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A list of the main features of Frontier 4.2 and the UserTalk language


1. Looping, if then else, case statement, scoping, sub-procedures.

2. Language is integrated with the storage system, allowing easy and efficient access to temporary values (locals) and values that persist between invocations of the script.

3. Error recovery is built into the language.

4. Scripts are compiled into an intermediate (p-code) form prior to execution.

5. Structural symbols such as semicolons, curly braces, begin/end, are not necessary.

6. Variable typing is dynamic, with predictable coercion built into the interpreter.


1. Scripts can launch an application, data file, control panel or desk accessory. Determine if an application is running. Bring a specified application to the front. Quit from an application.

2. Loop over all the running applications.

3. Determine how much memory is available.

4. Determine the version of the operating system.

5. Wait a specified number of seconds or sixtieths of a second.

6. Get the current time from the system clock. Set the system clock.

7. Get the contents of the system clipboard, put a value on the clipboard.

8. Access the desktop database to locate an application file.

9. Determine if an application supports Apple Events.

10. Play a sound.


1. Scripts can move, copy, delete and rename files and folders; and reconcile the changes between two versions of the same folder.

2. Get and modifiy file/folder attributes such as creation date, modification date, file type and creator, file size, file comment, version information, icon position, label, visibility, whether the file is locked or unlocked.

3. Determine if a file or folder exists.

4. Read and write from data files, with special (easy) support for text files.

5. Manage the resource fork of any file.

6. Loop over all files in a folder, or any level of nested folders.

7. Loop over all mounted disks.

8. Locate and create a special folders in the Macintosh System Folder.

9. Create and manage aliases.


1. Concatenate two strings.

2. Delete a range of characters.

3. Extract a range of characters from one string, resulting in a new string.

4. Convert a string to all upper-case or all lower-case.

5. Determine if a string is contained within another string, if it begins with a string, or ends with a string.

6. Replace each occurrence of one string contained within another string.

7. Access tab-delimited or comma-delimited fields in any text.

8. Scriptable text editor.

9. Scriptable outliner.

10. Text is not limited to any length, other than the amount of available memory.


1. Mount or unmount remote (shared) disk.

2. Run a script on a remote machine, pass parameters and receive returned results.

3. Send an Apple Event message to a remote application and receive returned results.

4. Allow remote connections via the AppleTalk Remote Access protocol.


1. Full-featured, integrated script editor and debugger.

2. Script editor is scriptable.

3. Find & Replace within a single script and over groups of scripts. Case insensitive search, wrap around, find language identifiers.

4. Allows editing of program structure.

5. Fully integrated script debugger. Set a breakpoint at any statement, step from statement to statement, go into a script call, go out from a script call, trace statement execution, resume normal execution, halt the script.

6. Examine and edit all local and global variables in the storage system while any number of scripts are running.

7. When a syntax or runtime error occurs, user can jump to the line where the error occurs, with all script editing features enabled. View all local and global variables before terminating the script.


1. Has a persistent storage system. Allows script writers to access groups of small and large values as a natural part of the language, efficiently, without having to implement a file format for each script.

2. The storage system is hierarchic, allowing groups of objects be treated as a single object.

3. Directly supports the following standard data types: boolean, character, 16-bit signed integers, 32-bit signed integers, floating point numbers, date, text, picture.

4. Allow arbitrary un-typed binary objects to be stored using the same naming scheme as for directly supported types.

5. Store and run scripts and executable machine code (e.g. XCMDs, UCMDs, OSAXs).


1. Run dialogs created with a resource editing tool such as ResEdit or Resorcerer.

2. Menu editor allows script writers to add commands to the Finder's menu bar, and to the menu bars of compatible applications (menu sharing).

3. Scripts can include standard "file dialogs" in their scripts.

4. Graphic interface builder makes it easy for script writers to front-end their scripts with standard user interface elements.


1. Works over AppleTalk network.

2. Code is re-usable. Scripts can call other scripts, passing parameters and receiving multiple returned values.

3. Launch a script from the desktop.

4. Drag and drop files/folders/disks onto a script.

5. Run "agent" scripts in the background.

6. Multi-threaded, allowing multiple scripts to run concurrently.

7. Scripts can handle incoming Apple Events.

8. Apple Events can be processed while waiting for a response from a message.

9. Script writers can add new verbs to the language.

10. C, Pascal and HyperTalk programmers can add verbs to the language.

11. Scripts can be compiled into an intermediate non-human-readable form, and it's possible to distribute scripts in this form.

12. Software Developer's Kit (SDK) with toolkits and sample code for all architecture features. Full C source code included. Available at no cost, on-line. Royalty-free license for all code.


1. Supports the client side of all major interapplication protocols including Apple Events, object model, system-level Apple Events, Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) and application-specific models such as Aldus Corp's Additions protocol

2. Supports recording for applications that are recordable.

3. Is a scriptable application, allowing script writers to customize its feature set.

4. Supports Open Scripting Architecture (OSA). [Frontier supports both the client and server sides of the OSA protocol.]


1. On-line documentation server. Information about each built-in verb. Hot-link from script editor. Other developers can add documentation for application-specific verbs. It's a scriptable application.

2. Sample scripts illustrate all commonly used scripting techniques. Distributed on-line.

© Copyright 1996-97 UserLand Software. This page was last built on 5/7/97; 1:38:09 PM. It was originally posted on 6/11/96; 11:24:50 AM. Internet service provided by Conxion.