News and commentary from the cross-platform scripting community.
Mail Starting 5/19/97
The question of syntax (English-like vs. C-like) is a bit beyond the point. The single most important aspect by which Apple-Script is utterly different from any other scripting system devised so far is the idea of *SEMANTIC* in place of *PHYSICAL* objects, and precisely that makes the thing somehow revolutionary. But then, why did it not find its way to other platforms?
From: email@example.com (Dirk Muysers);
Sent at 5/20/97; 10:36:35 AM;
Re:Scripting & Gardening
Reason 1: The "registry", unlike OLE's typelibs, is purely notional, and not formalised by the existence of actual tools to automatically produce program resources etc.
Reason 2: You can dig into the Apple sites as long and deep you want, you may never find any documentation or publicly available specs of what OSA is supposed to be.
Please correct me if I said something wrong, I am a Windows developer and never had the opportunity to touch a Mac in my life. I think that OLE automation, and its recent "active scripting" addition, will remain somewhat crippled without precisely that idea of semantic objects.
I was exposed to GUIs by a Lisa in 1984. Then I was forced by job circumstances to switch to DOS-based PCs. Framework II, III, and IV preserved my sanity at work until Windows 3.0 came out. (At home I had an Atari ST and its not-gutted-by-an-Apple-laws uit version of the GEM GUI.)
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dan Deckert);
Sent at 5/19/97; 11:58:45 PM;
From: email@example.com (Seth Grimes);
Sent at 5/19/97; 10:23:01 PM;
Re:Scripting & Gardening
Everyone who comes away from the conference will have a slightly different take, here's what I heard Apple say:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Scott S. Lawton);
Sent at 5/19/97; 4:01:04 PM;
- We have a strong commitment to MacOS, with many more engineers working on it than in the past few years. This summer's release of MacOS 8 will be the focus of Apple's marketing, and at least 2 more annual releases are planned.
- We have a strong commitment to Rhapsody.
- Cross platform is very important.
Two pleasant surprises:
- no fees for developers to ship Windows 95/NT products that are written to the "yellow box" APIs
- the "yellow box" will run on MacOS
I think it's pretty compelling: developers can write to one set of APIs and deliver on MacOS, Rhapsody for PPC, Rhapsody for Intel, Windows 95 & Windows NT. Or, developers can stick with the existing MacOS APIs and run their software on a fully supported MacOS and on Rhapsody for PPC in the "blue box".
They also showed a slide that indicated scripting would get full access to the OpenStep API, on par with C, C++, Java & Objective C!!! Rumor has it that they don't yet have a plan in place to deliver this, but apparently the discussion is proceeding.
I'd like to introduce one more term into this discussion.
From: email@example.com (Marc Canter);
Sent at 5/19/97; 9:33:40 AM;
Re:Scripting & Gardening
It's called Authoring. Authoring is the combination of scripting, animation, music, sound effects and page layout - combining together into a comprehensive user interface and experience.
These experiences have been called multimedia, but I prefer to think of them as authored experiences.
The reason this is all relevant to this topic (Scripting versus Programming) is that we are often viciously attacked because we think we can build complete applications with authored environments. Out attackers relegate authoring to meer 'prototypes' which are assumed to be eventually replaced by real 'c' code - once the user interface and multmedia effects have been finalized.
This not only completely verifies everything Dave has said about one group looking down at the other, but also misses the point of maleable, editable code - which when fully understood - allows for dynamic, compelling and exciting experiences - that work!
Isn't the end result what matters? Isn't having 100,000's of scriptors out there - automating their file operations important? And won't there always be the 1% of the world - the top programmers - who will always hack the hash tables - to make them even more effiicient and tight?
I agree with Dave - the world can be a better place if we all can live together and be friends!
We just put in a couple of raised bed gardens filled with organic top soil and started a big compost pile. Feels good and I enjoyed your piece. It takes a few decades but I'm finally heeding my parents teachings, my mother always had a big garden and compost pile back in Maine.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Caleb);
Sent at 5/19/97; 9:22:18 AM;
Re:Scripting & Gardening
It's a very balancing activity when combined with computers and writing. The sterile tapping of the keys against the dirt of mother earth under the finger nails. Good stuff!
You say, "So what are the shows? That's what I want to know and I want the info on the web." I like this statement. Last week my wife and I started planning our summer trip. We plan to visit an IKEA outlet, and there's none close to our house, what to do? First I checked for an IKEA website, they do have one, with very little information , but I was able to get the address of the closest location. Then it was over to Yahoo to use the map feature to find out where it was located and map out our course.
From: email@example.com (Pete Prodoehl);
Sent at 5/19/97; 10:45:40 AM;
Re:Is there a website for Shoreline?
Besides maps we got pretty detailed driving directions on how to get there. We decided it was too far to drive in one day, so we found a midway point, and then did some work on finding a place to stay, bed and breakfast, a motel? We found plenty of options. Some even allow kids. Oh, we also looked up information on accomodations near the IKEA outlet. And again, found plenty of info.
As long as I was at it, I decided to figure out which movie we could see Friday night, I found a site that listed all of our local theaters and the showtimes, as well as links to descriptions of the movies, and got a list of what we wanted to see, when and where, I could have gotten reviews of them too! Wow! All we need now is grocery shopping and home delivery via the web (which is happening now, but not in our city)
So when people say, "What good is the web?" or businesses say, "Why do we need to be on the web?" send them this message.
You've really hit a key metaphor here, Dave.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Turoff);
Sent at 5/19/97; 10:50:04 AM;
Re: Scripting & Gardening
If you look at farming as a form of gardening, then there are people who "garden" acres of corn or barley, and people who garden a small patch of herbs.
Yet they all seem to get along, deal with the same problems (bugs!) and have some level of mutual respect.
Scripting *is* like gardening, just not as old. Scripting comes in many forms, like gardening covers herb gardens, vegetable patches, landscaping. As you get bigger, Scripting morphs into Programming, just like gardening morphs into farming.
It's all about using the right tools for the task, and having the right attitude. Growing a few chives doesn't necessarily qualify someone to be a commercial rose grower. It doesn't necessarily disqualify them either.
One day, all of us who write code might shed our airs and accept a C/Cobol programmer as easily as a AppleScript/HyperCard scripter, the way a farmer can accept a gardener.