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Aug 93 Editorial
Volume Number:9
Issue Number:8
Column Tag:The Editor's Page

Off to Script We Go

By Neil Ticktin, Editor-in-Chief

If you haven’t figured out already, this issue is about scripting. It is a face-off between AppleScript and Frontier, and in a way it isn’t. 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 isn’t a face-off because Frontier’s feature set is so vastly different from AppleScript’s that it’s 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. You’ll be able to use Frontier’s 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 isn’t a scripting tool. As you’ll 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 we’ve 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.

What Do you like about us?

For some time now, you’ve been hearing that “this is your magazine.” Remember that you need to continue to give us feedback. Do you like the July and August issues? Do you like the topics and the coverage? What about the new “THINK Top 10” section? and the TechWord Puzzle? We want to hear from you - so write us and tell us what you like and what you don’t like (but be nice).

Have you renewed lately

Remember that to continue getting the magazine, you must renew. You can check the mailing label on the front cover to see when you expire. If you’re within 3-4 months of expiring - it’s time to renew!

And for you newsstand readers out there subscribe! You can receive the magazine without hassle and for a lot less money if you renew.

Next Month

This month, we weren’t 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 we’ll have our more normal set of languages.

Neil Ticktin, Editor-in-Chief


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