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Scripting Basics

That way, you won't have to deal with convoluted AppleScript commands just to hold your information although you're free to use AppleScripts to filter database information once it's already entered. And when it comes time to display your information, you won't have resort to AppleScript hackery to see your database onscreen. It's easy to useat least, as far as database programs are concernedand full of helpful features, including powerful searching and predesigned databases for common tasks, such as cataloging a movie collection.

AppleScript: The Missing Manual

But best of all, FileMaker Pro has a comprehensive AppleScript dictionary for automatically entering, filtering, and sorting your database entries. People use databases for an enormous number of things, but one fairly common use is storing employee information. Rather than keeping physical files on each employee, for example, a FileMaker Pro database lets you store all that information on your computer which is easier to search, email to hiring managers, or destroy if the government comes after you.

This section, therefore, helps you create such a database, and then shows you how to write the scripts you'll need to automate sorting the database's information. At that point, you see a dialog box where you can pick one of the predesigned databases layouts Product Catalog, Movie Library, To Do List, and so on. However, since you're going to build a customized database, you'd be better off starting from scratch, so just select "Create a new empty file.

You can save the database in your Documents folder, or anywhere else that it's convenient. Now, after you click Save in the dialog box, you see yet another dialog box Figure Figure This complicated dialog box is what lets you name the individual fields for your database.


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In essence, it lets you take care of all the database setup before you start entering information. If, at some later point, you want to change your database's fields, simply choose View Layout Mode and add or delete fields as you please. Repeat step 1, but add a new text field named Last Name. The reason for using two separate fields is that, later on, you can sort by either first name or last name.


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  7. If you only had a single Name field containing both first and last names , you wouldn't have the option of sorting them separately. You've just created a third field in your database. This one lets you specify how many years you've employed someone.

    Advanced Topics

    Add another field to your database, naming it Picture, and choosing Container -R for its Type. This field lets you store a headshot, mug shot, or other embarrassing photograph of each employee. Make sure you've clicked Create to add the field to your database before proceeding. Click OK to exit the dialog box. You now see a single record in your new database, just waiting for you to fill out Figure If you'd like to see the record in a more compact way, choose View View as Table.

    Now that you've got a database with all the fields you want, it's time to enter your employees' actual information.

    Account Options

    FileMaker Pro allows you to do this in two different ways: by typing the information yourself or by having AppleScript enter it for you. This is the approach most people use when they fill out a database: type the current employee's information in, insert the images and files you want, and move on to the next employee. You create a new, blank employee record by choosing Records New Record, or by pressing -N.

    Needless to say, this method is slow, tedious, and error-prone. Use it only if you're retiredor an insomniac. For the Picture field, however, Control-click the box, choose Insert Picture from the shortcut menu, and choose the image that you want to appear in the database. If you're short on time, AppleScript can help you copy your employees' information out of your Address Book Section 9. Not only does this method take only a fraction of the work, it also cuts down on any typos that might occur if you tried to transfer the information by hand.

    The following script shows you how to integrate your Address Book with FileMaker Pro, illustrating a wide variety of powerful commands. This script truly illustrates AppleScript's power at controlling different programs:.

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    AppleScript : The Missing Manual (Missing Manual)

    However, Goldstein manages to point out a few features of this application that I did not previously know about. Then I realized I still had nearly more pages to scour for even more information.

    Run terminal commands through applescript

    After explaining some of the mechanics of creating and using AppleScripts, AppleScript: The Missing Manual covers the basic components of scripting. Chapters four, five, and six deal with managing text, files, and lists, respectively, providing the some of the pieces needed to understand the more complicated scripts later in the book. The chapter on text manipulation does a good job of showing the strengths of AppleScript in general and AppleScript: The Missing Manual in particular.

    It begins by covering some of the text features built into AppleScript—things like creating strings in code, storing strings in variables, combining strings, and displaying strings in dialog boxes. Even though the price is right for TextEdit, many people prefer using a more powerful alternative, like Microsoft Word. In recognition of this fact, this chapter also adapts some scripts for use with Word and discusses some of the differences between writing scripts for Word and TextEdit. Records are clusters of information, sort of like lists, except that the record entries are named among other things, of course.

    My concerns were unfounded, as records were covered in a later chapter on databases. Between explaining the concepts of lists and records, AppleScript: The Missing Manual discusses the scriptability of several popular applications. The applications discussed in these chapters cover a broad range of uses and prices. From free applications like iTunes and Mail to hundred dollar-plus powerhouses like Photoshop and FileMaker Pro, this book covers techniques and sample scripts for dealing with graphics, sounds, movies, and network applications. Some of the scripts presented in these chapters simply replicate existing functionality in programs, while others expose functionality than normally would not be available in the application.

    For example, there is one script that simply applies a pre-existing Photoshop action to the active image and another script that lets you set a rating for the currently playing song in iTunes.