Integrating AppleScript With a Mac Application

9th August 2023 | Programming

For the past several years I have been slowly undertaking the monolithic task of rewriting Permanent Eraser. However, such an endeavor has become quite the Sisyphean task as my efforts have come in random spurts between my various other projects. As an interim option, I looked at adding a new feature to the existing app, such as including AppleScript support (something I've been wanting to include for many, many years).

AppleScript Scriptable Resources

Here's a variety of links I went through on how to make a Mac app scriptable. The first three are the ones which I found the most useful and cut through a lot of the confusion of how to get things set up.

Acorn's "taunt"

When I was doing research about scripting Mac apps, I took a look at other older programs and their AppleScript dictionaries. One of the examples I came across was the stalwart image editor Acorn which has an amusing taunt command, which results in this fun little dialog to appear:

Screenshot of Acorn taunting me like a Frenchman from a Monty Python movie

Here's the AppleScript:

tell application "Acorn"
end tell

Permanent Eraser and AppleScript

After some initial experimentation, I was able to finally get AppleScript to communicate with Permanent Eraser. That's the good news, a basic proof of concept showed that it can work. The bad news is that much like when I tried to implement NSServices in Permanent Eraser the poor design choices made back in 2004 prevent it from working well. To get either NSServices or AppleScript to work with Permanent Eraser will require rearchitecting the app, but doing so will move it much closer to what I've hoped to fulfill with Permanent Eraser. While making Permanent Eraser 2 scriptable is not feasible at the moment, it has been quite an interesting and rewarding trip down another rabbit hole.