Apple dissolves Mac automation management post, Sal Soghoian to leave company

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 71
    aknabiaknabi Posts: 154member
    Bummer... but not surprised given the new Apple power users (Kardashians and Chinese fashonistas) have no need for this sort of capability... they need true innovation like more rose gold devices and blingy accessories...
    boredumbSpamSandwich
  • Reply 22 of 71
    fracfrac Posts: 480member
    Wow...what a lot of Chicken Little drama junkie puppies. The article is about the management post, not the elimination of Automator, AppleScript etc
  • Reply 23 of 71
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,167member
    frac said:
    Wow...what a lot of Chicken Little drama junkie puppies. The article is about the management post, not the elimination of Automator, AppleScript etc
    The management post has probably been automated ...
    SpamSandwichblastdoor
  • Reply 24 of 71
    There have been bad vibes for AppleScript for a little while (e.g. the last feature to be added to the 'new' iWork apps) and this seems like another sign. I don't use it personally but the idea of standard interfaces into each app, accessible from a standard scripting language, is a powerful one so I would regret its passing.

    Automator has always seemed like one of the Mac's big secrets: it is given such a low profile that many people don't even know it exists. I have used it and found the ideas very good. It has always been a bit underpowered (coming from someone that doesn't write AppleScript)) in terms of what it can actually do so perhaps it is at the enhance or discard crossroads.

    So, entirely speculatively, Automator and AppleScript seem like they would be candidates in any 'what can we stop doing' discussion within Apple. Their recent software releases suggest that they are badly overstretched so such a discussion is likely to have happened ("hey, let's not make cars" might even have been mentioned). The departure of a technology's internal champion could well be related (as either an enabler to making such a decision or a consequence of doing so).
  • Reply 25 of 71
    I've used both AppleScript and Automator and I have to say they are both miserable implementations that should have stayed in a research lab. Before you downvote, give me a second...

    TLDR; The implementation of AppleScipt and Automator greatly hinder their potential utility, especially concerning the utility of the Dictionary. Removing this guy could retarget these products into something much more useful and we should be happy.

    AppleScript's core design was around a natural programming language bent which made it verbose and truly hard to write. These semantic issues could be understood in time but then there were so many gotchas in terms of syntax and odd management of variables, that creating a truly large and useful application was painful and time consuming. This was compounded by the lack of a good debugger (luckily there is a $200 3rd party offering). Automator had many modules but I always found myself back to writing AppleScript to do anything actually useful. Both lacked good documentation and examples, probably because AppleScript was mostly pre-Internet so it's community never built those things. Where both products shined were in their use of application dictionaries. These were magical and I would assume anyone here saying these were good products did so solely based upon the functionality provided making calls into these dictionaries.

    Conspiracy Theory: There are some changes to AppleScript that incorporate Javascript and I think this is going to be where things are going, and could probably be the reason this guy left. That is, he's a purist and doesn't want to see the naturalness of AppleScript polluted.
  • Reply 26 of 71
    This absolutely sucks. How apple pretends to sell more and more devices to education and enterprise (yeah they want that with the partnership with ibm and cisco) and not provide a current and evolving set of management tools which depend on all kinds of automation technologies?
    boredumbasdasd
  • Reply 27 of 71
    maOS automation is far from dead.  AppleScript is somewhat useful but I can automate thousands of Mac's without using any AppleScript whatsoever (UNIX baby). Several enterprise tools are switching from AppleScript to Swift and make huge strides due to the added power.  But I can see the need for basic end user automation.  As a pro, I find AppleScript to be lacking compared to other languages.  Perhaps Apple has something new in the works relating to Swift. Imagine a Swift based runtime engine that hooks into the GUI apps via AppleScript API's and for those API's to expand considerably.  

    I cannot imagine why he wasn't offered retirement unless something else happened.  He may have clashed with management, etc. I haven't seen him do a heck of a lot as of late, but not everything he did was public.  He probably received an enormous severance for his many years of service.    


  • Reply 28 of 71
    aknabi said:
    Bummer... but not surprised given the new Apple power users (Kardashians and Chinese fashonistas) have no need for this sort of capability... they need true innovation like more rose gold devices and blingy accessories...
    If anyone needs good automated photo retouching it is the kardashians.
    boredumb
  • Reply 29 of 71
    Swami BaloneySwami Baloney Posts: 19unconfirmed, member
    Another Apple move. Way to go. All the automation you need is on the Touch Bar. fire them all. Remember, companies on the decline always build lavish headquarters for themselves just before they turn out the lights.
  • Reply 30 of 71
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 3,663member
    frac said:
    Wow...what a lot of Chicken Little drama junkie puppies. The article is about the management post, not the elimination of Automator, AppleScript etc
    But if the post itself has gone it doesn't bode well for AppleScript and no one knows AppleScript better than Sal.
  • Reply 31 of 71
    FatmanFatman Posts: 287member
    Apple needs to invest in making Siri more functional - that could ultimately be the replacement for these 'discontinued' scripting languages. No programming required - the user could simply ask Siri to perform a number of tasks, name the 'job' and then have Siri repeat or schedule as needed. I'm shocked that after several years Siri struggles with even the most basic requests! Stop messing around with trying to create cars, and make iOS the most intelligent platform available.
    avon b7
  • Reply 32 of 71

    Mmm...

    Here's a Swift Playground:


  • Reply 33 of 71

    The same Swift Playground with a different Source File at line 17 -- generates a BASH Shell Script:


  • Reply 34 of 71
    frac said:
    Wow...what a lot of Chicken Little drama junkie puppies. The article is about the management post, not the elimination of Automator, AppleScript etc
    If Apple had a better track record supporting its professional users recently, then your head in the clouds attitude might be warranted. Also the lack of transparency in regards to Apple's plans for its professional technologies helps fuel negative speculation. And those of us who have been around awhile know that Applescript has seemingly always been under threat of removal. Your speculation that Apple may have some other plan in the works is just that, speculation. It is similar to the speculation that Apple must have been making a REALLY awesome update to Aperture because it hadn't been updated in so long. And the replacement for Aperture, an upgraded iPhoto that takes plug-ins, was a sorry substitute for Aperture. So if Apple handles "upgrades" to its automation tools in a similar way to how it handled Aperture, then we are all in for a big disappointment. But this all gets back to how Apple needs to be more transparent with its professional software development roadmaps. I understand their need to keep secret the next big thing for iPad or whatever. But I do not see any value in Apple keeping its professional users in the dark about the future of Applescript and Automator. Just tell us where you are going with these things and stop the negative rumors.
    avon b7asdasd
  • Reply 35 of 71
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,830member
    I've tried to use Automator a few times and its just too frustrating to use. Like others have said, its not very intuitive to use...not very Apple like. It was meant to be a simpler way to do automated tasks but it was anything but that. Honestly for me its just an app that sits in the Applications folder. If it had gone away in macOS Sierra I would have never of known (nor cared). I'm thinking the majority of Mac users feel the same way which is maybe why its no longer going to be supported by Apple. 

    On the flip side....I wouldn't think this necessarily means Apple is completely dropping AppleScript. Sometimes its best to get fresh people in and let the old ones go away, even the ones who are smart and developed it originally. Fresh people can have new ideas and maybe he was stuck in his ways, holding back projects as a result. Its not always best to keep someone in a position just because their the "father" of that technology. 
    edited November 2016
  • Reply 36 of 71
    firelock said:
    frac said:
    Wow...what a lot of Chicken Little drama junkie puppies. The article is about the management post, not the elimination of Automator, AppleScript etc
    If Apple had a better track record supporting its professional users recently, then your head in the clouds attitude might be warranted. Also the lack of transparency in regards to Apple's plans for its professional technologies helps fuel negative speculation. And those of us who have been around awhile know that Applescript has seemingly always been under threat of removal. Your speculation that Apple may have some other plan in the works is just that, speculation. It is similar to the speculation that Apple must have been making a REALLY awesome update to Aperture because it hadn't been updated in so long. And the replacement for Aperture, an upgraded iPhoto that takes plug-ins, was a sorry substitute for Aperture. So if Apple handles "upgrades" to its automation tools in a similar way to how it handled Aperture, then we are all in for a big disappointment. But this all gets back to how Apple needs to be more transparent with its professional software development roadmaps. I understand their need to keep secret the next big thing for iPad or whatever. But I do not see any value in Apple keeping its professional users in the dark about the future of Applescript and Automator. Just tell us where you are going with these things and stop the negative rumors.
    I agree to some extent.  But, Apple has been pretty clear that they consider Swift to be a System Programming Language -- not just apps, but Shell scripts, OAS Scripts and, likely, Web scripts.

    edited November 2016
  • Reply 37 of 71
    I've used AppleScript and Automator many times over the years - setting up watched folders and actions, etc. AS and A have been problematic from the start. A very narrow range of tech heads have been able to do a lot with scripting on the Mac but I doubt they represent more than one out of five thousand Mac users.

    The AS / A thing is far too ungainly to attract the masses. Most everyday people who have tried it out have been totally stumped by it - "here's a list of selectable terms, here's a window where you're supposed to do something, have fun". The interface was not vetted by normal people and it turned normal people away.  I was motivated, so I figured it out and used it for many things, most of which were not particularly high level.

    It is like a master mathematician trying to teach math to an elementary school kid. 90% of the kids are left behind. Just because someone is a master of something, this doesn't mean that they have one iota of teaching skills or that they understand how kids learn and interact with things.

    While other factors are clearly at play, AS / A has been a victim of Apple-itis: it was created to appeal to the creators. It's like when Apple rewrote iMovie to suit video pros; removing a powerful but drop-dead-easy interface that amateurs flocked to in the millions and replacing it with a screen filled from top to bottom with a dizzying array of frames. It was great for a certain group, but it drove millions away – the millions of amateurs that it was specifically designed to serve. As it is now, people use it if they are really intent on using it. The percentage of normal people creating movies with it is nowhere near the percentage before the interface rewrite.

    The scripting interface is far too mysterious for mere mortals. I'm not surprised that Apple eliminated the post. As for me, I'm annoyed that this issue was not addressed properly and did not offer a leg-up to normal everyday people.
    edited November 2016 SpamSandwich
  • Reply 38 of 71
    avon b7 said:
    frac said:
    Wow...what a lot of Chicken Little drama junkie puppies. The article is about the management post, not the elimination of Automator, AppleScript etc
    But if the post itself has gone it doesn't bode well for AppleScript and no one knows AppleScript better than Sal.
    That is exactly the point indeed. No one can learn and master AppleScript, ever...
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 39 of 71
    I've used AppleScript and Automator many times over the years - setting up watched folders and actions, etc. AS and A have been problematic from the start. A very narrow range of tech heads have been able to do a lot with scripting on the Mac but I doubt they represent more than one out of five thousand Mac users.

    The AS / A thing is far too ungainly to attract the masses. Most everyday people who have tried it out have been totally stumped by it - "here's a list of selectable terms, here's a window where you're supposed to do something, have fun". The interface was not vetted by normal people and it turned normal people away.  I was motivated, so I figured it out and used it for many things, most of which were not particularly high level.

    It is like a master mathematician trying to teach math to an elementary school kid. 90% of the kids are left behind. Just because someone is a master of something, this doesn't mean that they have one iota of teaching skills or that they understand how kids learn and interact with things.

    While other factors are clearly at play, AS / A has been a victim of Apple-itis: it was created to appeal to the creators. It's like when Apple rewrote iMovie to suit video pros; removing a powerful but drop-dead-easy interface that amateurs flocked to in the millions and replacing it with a screen filled from top to bottom with a dizzying array of frames. It was great for a certain group, but it drove millions away – the millions of amateurs that it was specifically designed to serve. As it is now, people use it if they are really intent on using it. The percentage of normal people creating movies with it is nowhere near the percentage before the interface rewrite.

    The scripting interface is far too mysterious for mere mortals. I'm not surprised that Apple eliminated the post. As for me, I'm annoyed that this issue was not addressed properly and did not offer a leg-up to normal everyday people.
    Applescript was originally promoted as a way to make scripts using "everyday" language. This has never been true. Automator was a second attempt at this goal and while more accessible, it is still not something that a typical user is going be using. So in that sense you are correct, Apple failed at making these tools as accessible as they obviously initially hoped. But I don't think that means the products themselves are failures, and indeed I've successfully used Applescript as a way to prove why my department should still have Macs instead of being forced to switch to Windows.
  • Reply 40 of 71
    avon b7 said:
    Very sad news. Another nail in the coffin for the original Mac philosophy.
    AppleScript has nothing to do with the original Mac philosophy. AppleScript belongs to a later decade, to that age of "multimedia" preceding the public Internet and the Web and it makes part of those futile efforts to go "corporate" like OpenDoc, PlainTalk and many other forgotten discontinued projects.

    But I see that you're very capable in building negative stories based on what others write as if those were your own experiences...
    edited November 2016 pscooter63
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