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Apple developing "Automator" Web site

post #1 of 54
Thread Starter 
Apple is reportedly developing a Web site to help promote its upcoming Automator workflow application.

Apple Computer is in the process of developing a resource Web site for its forthcoming "Automator" personal automation assistant, sources close to the computer company tell AppleInsider.

The new Web site is expected to be ready for operation in early 2005, about the same time the company plans to launch its next-generation Mac OS X Tiger operating system, which features the new Automator application.

Using Automator, users can create step-by-step "Workflow" scripts that draw upon a library of actions. Workflows can accomplish tasks ranging from filtering and renaming a batch of images to creating customized Mac OS X Finder actions.

Similar to Apple's iCal Web site, sources expect the Automator site to include helpful user tips and a section where users can submit or share their Automator creations.

Although the site has yet to debut, sources say it's slated to appear at www.apple.com/automator/.

Work on the initial release of Automator continues this month, as Apple refines the application and finalize its user interface. With the most recent builds of the application, the company has removed all script actions associated with its AppleWorks office suite, but provided no explanation.

Automator 1.0, along with Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger," is set to debut in the first half of 2005, though unconfirmed reports have recently suggested Tiger could debut much earlier than previously anticipated.
post #2 of 54
Ahem. CoughAppleWorkssuccessorwillatlastarrivethisMWSFah em.
post #3 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by Hobbes
Ahem. CoughAppleWorkssuccessorwillatlastarrivethisMWSFah em.



And what that tells me is that all the system libraries that the next AW will basically be a container for will finally be in place.

Between Core Data, Core Text, Core Video and Core Image and Core Whatever I Forgot to Mention, it has the potential to be a lovely thing indeed.

The RTF, DOC and PDF support built into the system probably won't hurt either...
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post #4 of 54
BOOM!
post #5 of 54
Hooooray! (I hope you guys are right!)
post #6 of 54
Please, Please, Please, Please....
post #7 of 54
Yes, I think I'm looking forward to a new office suite more than 10.4 itself.
post #8 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by Hobbes
Ahem. CoughAppleWorkssuccessorwillatlastarrivethisMWSFah em.

This seems like a fairly reasonable guess. Apple appears to be going the direction of pushing core functionality (pardon the pun) down into "Core" libraries. Then the applications like iMovie, iPhoto, iTunes, Safari, iWorks? simply become (relatively) thin UIs on top of those Core libraries.

That's the dream anyway.
post #9 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by Hobbes
Ahem. CoughAppleWorkssuccessorwillatlastarrivethisMWSFah em.

I hope that Apple jumps into OpenOffice with two feet.

Apple's open source track record is strong... OpenOffice would be the cherry on top.
post #10 of 54
Open Office is crap. Whatever new app they develop will be magnitudes better.
post #11 of 54
OpenDoc? Is that you?... Did that meany OLE beat you up and was Apple not nice to you?

Seriously... with the focus on XML and all of the work that is going into making word processing and spreadsheets trivial to implement, this could be a good time for an OpenDoc revival out of Apple. I am not going to hold my breath, but one can dream....
post #12 of 54
Cocoa = OpenDoc for (almost) all intents and purposes. Well, the APIs and umbrella frameworks are part of this too. I think Apple was well aware of this when they purchased NeXT in '97. At this point, I think Apple is showing that the idea of OpenDoc is, in modified, less-scary-to-developers'-business-models form, in effect now with these tools. I don't think we'll see OpenDoc outright though as these tools are probably more mature at this point than OpenDoc anyway. There was some buzz in the old OpenStep community of selling not applications but objects to users -- Cocoa objects, APIS, plug-ins, frameworks, etc.


Ah, good ol' Stepwise.
post #13 of 54
I've been waiting for a solid AppleWorks upgrade since what, The Great Blackout?

At this point, I'll only believe it when I actually see it.
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post #14 of 54
With the time it has taken to come out with a new version of AppleWorks (or what ever they will call it) I'm guessing they started this project from scratch. Wasn't keynote made from scratch?
post #15 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by FormatC2
I hope that Apple jumps into OpenOffice with two feet.

Apple's open source track record is strong... OpenOffice would be the cherry on top.

But there is no way Apple spent all this time building those Text API features into Mac OS X to go and launch an Open Office distro.

If they actually do anything with OO, they will adopt the file format, that's it.
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post #16 of 54
I think Apple adds software like Keynote when they're convinced developers aren't quite "getting it." Motion and Keynote are each a kind of proof of concept for their respective technologies. I'm not so sure Apple feels the same way about their text objects and APIs. There seem to be enough developers who have adopted and extended these tools. Of course, I wouldn't be shocked if some day they do make a real word processor if these efforts go nowhere in the land of third parties.
post #17 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by BuonRotto
Cocoa = OpenDoc for (almost) all intents and purposes. Well, the APIs and umbrella frameworks are part of this too.

I think you are a bit off base on this one. OpenDoc was all about having a single document format and allowing third parties to add their own document portions and the plug-ins to read that format. There was also a set of API's to allow some standardization of common "section" formats (like text) to allow interaction and another API to allow for controls and display of that portion. Think of it sort of like turning a document into a bowl of soup where anyone can todd their ingredient in.

You would have to quint really hard to see the Cocoa API's in that. The closest I can come is trying to make NSViews look like this idea... or NSCell... but both of those are compile-time similarities... nothing really like OpenDoc.


The big thing that killed OpenDoc was that in order to view any document you had to have all of the components to view it, and no component ever got enough critical mass to be really valuable. Same problem that Word processors have now against Word, but generalized across all of the components.

However, I think that things have settled down enough at this point that you could build in a basic set of components and then encourage people to sub-class those components to build better ideas, but still allow people without the newer components to view something through the base class... pie in the sky, but a neat idea. Oh... and I see no evidence of this thinking at Apple.
post #18 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by BuonRotto
I think Apple adds software like Keynote when they're convinced developers aren't quite "getting it." Motion and Keynote are each a kind of proof of concept for their respective technologies. I'm not so sure Apple feels the same way about their text objects and APIs. There seem to be enough developers who have adopted and extended these tools. Of course, I wouldn't be shocked if some day they do make a real word processor if these efforts go nowhere in the land of third parties.

I'm not so sure I see things this way. First off, yes I think Apple makes apps when they see an opportunity or need. However, I think they make them to dominate or at least hold their own in the market-not just to kick start developers.

Second, I think MS office is stale and really hasn't gotten better in a long time. Keynote made many inprovements over PowerPoint IMHO, I think an office suite taking after keynote would bring back elegance and simplicity that has been missing for some time. I'm hoping for something in between MS Office and InDesign. Soemthing that fits well with SOHO, teachers and such.
post #19 of 54
I think conceptually, Cocoa provides much of what openDoc promised, however differently they are packaged. Yeah, they've given up on any idea of a common file format or backbone. But the idea of providing a consistent set of tools that the user can apply to any document in many contexts I think is alive and thriving. At some point, it runs into the a problem of having applications of containers, so the plug-in architecture and standard UI elements, and a more powerful pasteboard is about as close as you're going to get without somehow having all developers outside of Cupertino change how they not only create their products but also market and pay for their development. For the most part, OS X is going to afford much of what the ultimate goal of openDoc was trying to provide without having to somehow strong-arm developers to turn their businesses upside down, some of whom are bigger than Apple.

I don't mean to say that Apple develops software only as a proof of concept. But I do think they hang back in some cases to see how thing go, especially if the product doesn't fill an internal desire or need, and if the software isn't a major piece of their long-term growth strategy. I don't think a word processor is a primary concern as far their a long-term strategy, no matter if people want an Office competitor, and I don't think Keynote was either strictly a pet project for Steve nor a missing piece of many people's software arsenal.
post #20 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by Thinine
Open Office is crap. Whatever new app they develop will be magnitudes better.

KHTML wasn't the best thing in the world either, but Apple started with it as a base, and worked hard on it and it became Safari.

I agree with the file format angle also. If everyone but M$ used the OpenOffice format, who really cares what "frontend" you use to produce the files.
post #21 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by FormatC2
KHTML wasn't the best thing in the world either, but Apple started with it as a base, and worked hard on it and it became Safari.

I agree with the file format angle also. If everyone but M$ used the OpenOffice format, who really cares what "frontend" you use to produce the files.

Which indicates what they should really do: Dump Aqua and implement a kick-ass build of KDE for Darwin!
post #22 of 54
KHTML is a rendering engine, just like Gecko. It figures out what to do with HTML. Apple had to build that up and then add Safari on top.

OpenOffice is a whole different beast. It has a full blown GUI. And as far as I can tell, one that isn't easily seperated from the code. (I haven't checked in the project in a long time, since there are no new Mac OS X compatible releases for a while, but I'm getting the impression their making massive changes in 2.0 to allow for better "cross-GUI" work.) Still, Apple shouldn't get involved in this project.

Another thing comes to mind. The license on the Gecko code allows you to copy code directly out of it. Apple could possible save some reverse engineering time if OO were like that. (Obviously, check the facts on that as I have not the time, and it's been a while).

And as for OpenDoc. I think the power if there. PDFKit, Web Kit, Core Image, Core Video, Core Data, Image I/O and the other dozens of "really cool stuff" I've seen, allow for an architecture of applications and, really, documents that have immersive content. Whether it will be there now or when it will show up? No idea.
post #23 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by FormatC2
KHTML wasn't the best thing in the world either, but Apple started with it as a base, and worked hard on it and it became Safari.

KHTML was relatively small and clean (that's why they chose KHTML over the more complete Gecko). OpenOffice is the farthest possible thing from small or clean.

An office app pulls many things together. I see Apple going with lots of little open source and Apple proprietary libraries under a common GUI. Far better that than trying to wrangle a massive, self-contained codebase into shape.

If the OpenOffice developers are essentially rewriting OO just to make it cross-platform, what would Apple have to do to make it a robust OS X application?
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post #24 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by Louzer
Which indicates what they should really do: Dump Aqua and implement a kick-ass build of KDE for Darwin!



5 bonus points for living in a warped fantasy.
post #25 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by Amorph
If the OpenOffice developers are essentially rewriting OO just to make it cross-platform, what would Apple have to do to make it a robust OS X application?

Use the OASIS approved, going to be ISO standard, blessed by the EU, and used in more desktops than there are Apple machines file format in their own apps.
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post #26 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by stupider...likeafox
Use the OASIS approved, going to be ISO standard, blessed by the EU, and used in more desktops than there are Apple machines file format in their own apps.

You don't have to convince me to support file format compatibility. I'm more concerned with the other 6 billion lines of never-meant-to-run-on-a-Mac spaghetti code.
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post #27 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by stupider...likeafox
Use the OASIS approved, going to be ISO standard, blessed by the EU, and used in more desktops than there are Apple machines file format in their own apps.

They don't need to adopt the code base to do this. In fact they could make the OO file format the native one...the specification is out there (unlike for MS Office).
post #28 of 54
If I may toot a bit, there is an Automator website that I hope will be of interest once Tiger is released, http://www.automatorworld.com
I don't mind seeing Apple do basically the same thing, competition is good
post #29 of 54
Interesting... I am not looking into Mac app development anymore since I've been more into web development for the past 4 years...

But it seems pretty easy, with the Cocoa API's for text handling, to write a full blown word processor. Apple could do that pretty fast. But I still see no fit...

I use TextEdit for most of my needs. If I need something better than that, I usually go for InDesign and import the RTF text I typed on TextEdit. It's that simple... =)

But there's something Apple could do, and the API's for that are all there too:

A PHOTOSHOP KILLER!!

That would be awesome!

Photoshop is getting stale. It's meant to be a "does-it-all" piece of software that is closer to bloatware than anything else. It's like MS Word for graphics. I know it's the de-facto standard, but it's so processor- and memory-hungry that you need a dual G5 to use it decently, even for a web layout!

Apple should write a Photo Studio Pro to match iPhoto, just like Final Cut matches iMovie (I mean, a "pro app" and "iApp" match). With a modular architecture that makes possible for the user to have the right app for his needs.

Just imagine: I don't do web; only print media! OK, you can just disable the web module and you won't have those web palletes, save for web, slices and stuff in your face.

Then I think Apple could go and kill Macromedia as well with a Flash-authoring app. Flash has a terrible interface and all kinds of problems on the Mac. Seems like Macromedia couldn't care less about the Mac platform.

With the knowledge Apple has on its own API's, it should be relatively easy for them to release killer-apps.


Cheers,
_iCeb0x_
post #30 of 54
god, this is awesome, faster than MS office, yay, better than appleworks, yes!!!!!!!!
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post #31 of 54
Yeah, a new office suite would be cool...
Um, but wasn't this thread meant to be about Automator?!

Jimzip
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post #32 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by Jimzip
Um, but wasn't this thread meant to be about Automator?!

Kinda shows what Macusers' priorities are, doesn't it?
Now, as for what Apple's priorities are....
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post #33 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by Jimzip
Um, but wasn't this thread meant to be about Automator?!

Just look what happens when Apple leaves one its important consumer applications waiting in limbo for nearly four years.

Madness!
post #34 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by Jimzip
Um, but wasn't this thread meant to be about Automator?!

Yes. Automator is cool.

Now back to that Apple office suite/photoshop killer...
post #35 of 54
Well, I'll add this re: automator. I'm a bit surprised some of this, at least some form of batch processing isn't being put into the Finder and the other respective apps instead. I guess, for that matter, it was a bit curious that Spotlight was given its own result windows rather than simply calling up the Finder. Maybe it's just a first step, or the structure of creating these Automator actions prevents this kind of integration. Anyway, it would be nice, for example, to change the names on a bunch of files in the Finder without having to leave that environment. Seems like a natrual extension of the basic "solo" commands. Maybe the implementation is too complex to shoehorn into these apps? Just curious.
post #36 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by BuonRotto
Well, I'll add this re: automator. I'm a bit surprised some of this, at least some form of batch processing isn't being put into the Finder and the other respective apps instead. I guess, for that matter, it was a bit curious that Spotlight was given its own result windows rather than simply calling up the Finder. Maybe it's just a first step, or the structure of creating these Automator actions prevents this kind of integration. Anyway, it would be nice, for example, to change the names on a bunch of files in the Finder without having to leave that environment. Seems like a natrual extension of the basic "solo" commands. Maybe the implementation is too complex to shoehorn into these apps? Just curious.

Why would it belong in Finder? If anything, Apple has offloaded a great deal of Finder's old functionality already (for example, many Apple Events sent to Finder just get forwarded to System Events, an app that runs in the background), and focused on its mission as an interactive file browser.

Any kind of batch work is a different thing altogether, and from reading the AppleScript Users list and lurking in various forums it seems that if you want to do batch processing you want to do batch processing, and the applications involved are subordinated as tools. If you use GraphicConverter for batch work, for instance, it will cheerfully take over the job of moving and renaming and badging files in bulk, just because that's a necessary part of the job you need GC for in the first place.

So I'm not surprised that Automator appears to be one-stop shopping for batch processing in OS X. If the projects you'd like to use Automator for involve file processing, you'd want Automator to be able to process the files, after all.
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post #37 of 54
Just trying to play devil's advocate. That, and trying to get back on the Automator track.

As soon as you start talking about connecting actions among various apps, the Finder integration assumption falls apart. And, after all, that's Automator's real strength and its almost-holy grail quality. I brought it up because I have been asking for the ability to do simple batch changes to file sin the Finder for along time now, things like renaming a bunch of files, which required silly Applescripts and will even now. Automator really goes above and beyond that role, but it's still kinda funny that you can't easily add a suffix to a bunch of files and other rather routine operations. It's just that, I suppose like other oft-requested features for the OS, Apple decided to skip that meal and go for the big game instead.

In reality, I think that the decision to go outside and beyond the Finder speaks volumes about how Apple plans the future role of the Finder. The decision to have Spotlight open its own windows instead of tapping on the shoulder of the Finder reinforces my feeling that the Finder is quietly, slowly being pushed out of the center of the user experience.
post #38 of 54
If only full Exchange support were possible....damn you Redmond monkeys.
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post #39 of 54
Automator....hmmm

Anyone see this as bringing more potential to virus writers? "Check out this bad ass automation script for automator"....

Delete this, send me this, etc...

Just wondering.
post #40 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by Jay Contonio
Automator....hmmm

Anyone see this as bringing more potential to virus writers? "Check out this bad ass automation script for automator"....

Delete this, send me this, etc...

Just wondering.

AppleScript is a much better avenue for this sort of thing... but there is the problem with both that there is no good way to spread. That is one of the maim reasons why there are no viruses on MacOS X, the security model was better setup to begin with, and most of the routes are turned off my default, or require passwords.
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