Opinion

Leopard "Preview" Gallery - Part VI (Automator)


Now, when Automator came out with Tiger back in 2005, most people, including me, were like "nyah, whatever". One - it has this extremely scary icon and, at least to me, it feels like that scary little one-eyed robot is going to make a million copies of itself, take over the world and whack people with that huge metallic tube he's holding. Creepy, in a word. Two - stuff like scripting has never been popular with the masses; it's got as much user base within the Mac community as Macs have within the PC community, i.e., not all that much.

Now, I wouldn't have given two hoots about Automator until two months ago, but this summer I started using it for a little automated recording tool and what did I find? So many things can be automated! Sure it won't cook you dinner or unclog a toilet, but it can convert a hundred or so Mac OS X "Leopard" screenshots from trouble-making PNGs to nice-and-friendly JPEGs (hint, hint) in a very timely manner. Automator is a hidden gem in Mac OS X, if a little rough around the edges, and once you try it, you'll never look back.

Now, problems, in my opinion, with Automator stood thus:
  • It was Brushed Metal - this has been duly rectified and hopefully is a sign of things to come
  • It took approximately a million bounces to launch even on a dual-G5 - this, again, has been duly rectified and Automator opens up with fierce agility now (couple o' bounces) presumably because it doesn't leak memory like a person with Alzheimer's anymore.
  • The actions it had were pretty limited - not exactly fixed, but there's a work-around now, you'll see...
Anyway, let the screenshots begin!





Those are (in order) About Box, Main Empty window, Customize Toolbar sheet and the very handy "Change Type to JPEG.workflow".


How exactly one would actually use these Variables that the new Automator has, I don't know. However, it looks very promising and I could see this being a useful addition.


Clicking the little SnapBack-type arrow once you've executed an action actually tells you which files were affected by your action and that is just kinda sweet. Useful, you know.


The Automator Automator Actions have a few additions.


Finally! The glorious days of Automator are coming. You can record actions and Automator actually does a pretty good job. It actually executed the workflow shown in the screenshot very nicely and I was clearly impressed.

All in all, everything is rough around the edges and needs a lot of polishing, but as you can see, Automator 2 is going to be pretty amazing and I'm just excited. 

Comments (11) Posted on at  

  • » Recording actions was a MUST in Automator :)
    Looks promising.
    BTW, how are you recording those several videos? Thanks for all the info. :)
  • » SnapzProX
  • » I know SnapzProX makes great videos but it isn't compatible with Intel yet :(
  • » That's true. However you can use iShowU. That's Intel-compatible although it is not yet Leopard-compatible.
  • » Shouldn't that be Part VI?
  • » Thank you my observant friend. It indeed should be.
  • » I, for one, love the Automator icon, especially the fact that it has a single blue eye.
  • » Great update! how about a preview of VoiceOver? apples leopard-page says the voice synthesizer now supports other languages than english through "add-on's". Are these add-on synthesizers present in the preview?
  • » I might post about that... I never used VoiceOver in Tiger, so I might not be able to point out differences. I do want to see how Front Row is in Leopard though and if there are any changes.
  • » Can you post some screenshots of other built in apps, like TextEdit, Calculator, DVD Player, Font Book, iSync, etc.?
  • » Now that you mention it, I will post screenshots of more minor applications and I have seen some changes in DVD Player that are worth mentioning.

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