Aug 93 Editorial
|Column Tag:||The Editor's Page
Off to Script We Go
By Neil Ticktin, Editor-in-Chief
If you havent figured out already, this issue is about scripting. It is a face-off between AppleScript and Frontier, and in a way it isnt. It is a face-off because they can be used to do some of the same things. You can write scripts to drive FileMaker that perform equally well, using either Frontier or AppleScript.
It isnt a face-off because Frontiers feature set is so vastly different from AppleScripts that its like comparing MacDraw with QuickDraw. They do kind-of the same thing, but one is system software and the other is a tool for building on that technology. Frontier goes way beyond application scripting - providing a powerful script editor and debugger, menubar editor, object database and on-line documentation tool. Frontier scripts can drive the file system, operating system, networks and scriptable applications.
Frontier and AppleScript already work very well together and in the future they will work much more closely. Youll be able to use Frontiers script editing and storage system to develop AppleScript scripts. For example, you can use our language to drive the system and networks, and use AppleScript to drive a recordable application.
And both products agree on one very important thing: applications should be scriptable. Script writers are usually solving problems for a lot of people. As a result, they can buy hundreds or thousands of copies of your software, but only if it is scriptable.
As you may remember from our July issue WWDC 93 report, Apple is going to rely very heavily on AppleScript for glue to many of the future technologies (i.e., agents, voice recognition). As a magazine, we must think a lot of scripting - our May issue covered AppleEvents and this issue is on scripting. As a developer, you are better off to implement AppleEvents now rather than having to play catch up later.
Scripting gurus believe the world of scriptable applications is big - with room for lots of different approaches and tools. AppleScript and Frontier have similarities and at the same time, are complementary. Different tools for different jobs. And like MPW and THINK C, some people will prefer one over another, and some people will use both.
A Kick in the rear
Frontier first shipped in early 1992 and AppleScript shipped a few months ago, but one of the most important products to scripting isnt a scripting tool. As youll see in a product review in this issue, Symantec is shipping a new version of THINK C. This version is very scriptable. Hopefully, developers will realize the benefits of scripting when they can benefit themselves from scripting THINK C. This should be the catalyst weve been waiting for.
Jeff Kane wrote one of our most successful articles - AppleEvents 101 in the May 93 issue. We printed a rebuttal to his article that turned out not to be his bug. Evidently, Apple changed the header files and as a result, the definition of the gestaltPPC constants. Sorry Jeff.
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This month, we werent able to cover Pascal and other languages. We had to make room for a lot of info on scripting. In addition, Jörg Langowski took a break for one month. Next month, Jörg will be back and well have our more normal set of languages.
Neil Ticktin, Editor-in-Chief