AppleScript : The Definitive Guide
||Author: Matt Neuburg|
List Price: $39.95
Our Price: Click to see the latest and low price
Publisher: O'Reilly & Associates (20 November, 2003)
Sales Rank: 5,308
Average Customer Rating: 3.75 out of 5
Customer ReviewsRating: 1 out of 5
the Worst O'Reilly I've ever used
I am for the first time not happy with my O'Reilly purchase. I am fluent in many programming & scripting languages. I bought this book so that I could get past the limited information I found from Apple. I was wrong to do so. The Apple documentation, limited as it may be is much more useful. I have found little to no information that was helpful in this book. It gives few commands and fewer syntax rules or examples.
I don't dismiss the possiblity that if I had been AppleScripting for years I might not think the same way about this title. However, I think if you are looking to do practical things with AppleScript, like "arrange the year, day, and month in a string in the order of your choosing", don't expect this book to help.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Another awesome reference guide from O'Reilly
I love O'Reilly & Associates' books, and have a number of them on my bookshelf. They are often the books I turn to first on technical subjects, and /AppleScript: The Definitive Guide/ is no exception in that regard. Matt Neuburg has a relaxed writing style that makes this guide enjoyable to read, insofar as reference books are enjoyable to any degree. He makes a point of going into detail about the quirks of AppleScript (of which there are tons), explaining workarounds when possible, the potential problems these quirks can cause, etc. Neuburg also is not shy about admitting his puzzlement at some of the particularly odd and inexplicable aspects of the AppleScript language.
There's a great deal of information on a wide range of topics: the architecture of the language, the mindset you need when coding with AppleScript, how to combine your AppleScripts with other languages (such as Perl), how to use AppleScript studio to create GUI apps, and tons more. /AppleScript: The Definitive Guide/ has an excellent index, and I've yet to encounter a situation when the bit of info I needed couldn't be found quickly in this book.
Ultimately, AppleScript books tend to fall into one of two categories. There are those that are primarily aimed at telling you how to automate specific apps (the Finder, for example) and not much else. Such books are unfortunately too common, and many of them are sorely outdated (usually covering not much after Mac OS 9, which is fairly useless now). At the other end of the spectrum are those that aim to teach you the language, its ups and its downs, its godsends and its bizarre oddities. /AppleScript: The Definitive Guide/ falls into the latter category, and this is its strongest feature.
As the author points out, AppleScript is a very quirky language, and you never really "learn" all of it, or even the majority of it. There's so many hacks and poorly (or un-) documented applications, it would take a lifetime to truly master every aspect of AppleScript. Fortunately Matt Neuburg has come to the rescue with this excellent reference. It surely deserves a place on the bookshelf of any Mac developer or power user.
Rating: 3 out of 5
It is the best of books, it is the worst of books.
Sorry, Mr. Dickens, I just had to.
First, the bad parts. If you are a beginner to AppleScript (particularly if you've had little programming or scripting experience), DO NOT even think about looking at this book. It will be so confusing and discouraging, you'll leave angry. There are plenty of books that show you how to do simple things easily with AppleScript. They may be deluding you into thinking that it will be simple to use AppleScript for more complex tasks, but at least, you'll be getting hands-on learning in the meantime. No book can be truly suitable for beginners AND experts and I never believed that claim about this book. Sorry, beginners, this book is STRICTLY for intermediate to advanced users.
Having said that, I can begin to shower praise upon this masterpiece. As someone who has done some AppleScripting and have been through a lot of frustration doing anything beyond cookie-cutter work, Chapter 3 boosted my self-esteem about 10 notches! That chapter details Matt Neuberg's odyssey through the labyrinthine task of scripting FrameMaker. Been there, done that (in other apps)! So, I'm not such an idiot -- some of these object models aren't crystal clear.
I had always thought that AppleScript was the underrated, undersold and underused secret weapon that the Mac platform could wield over the competitors, especially the dreaded Windows! After using it and then having my suspicions confirmed by this book, I realize that despite all its power, AppleScript has failed in its mission of being the intuitively obvious, easy-to-use, simple, everyday, plain English, "scripting/programming-for-the-rest-of-us" tool it apparently was developed to be. The good news is that if you are the true target audience for this book, you will be able to help out ordinary Mac users for fun and profit.
I believe there is a definite line dividing the people who must have and will love this book from those who should avoid it like the plague (until they get some AS experience elsewhere). I hope this helps you decide.
· Mac OS X: The Missing Manual, Panther Edition
· Mac OS X Hacks
· Running Mac OS X Panther
· Learning Unix for Mac OS X Panther
· AppleScript 1-2-3