Is ASUL dead already?

Apologies for the total offtopicness of this message.

It looks like the latest mail ASUL has archived at Apple is a message from Sept. 16 (not 3 as I wrongly wrote earlier).

Any idea what’s going on?

The last digest message I have here is from Sept 17. The one preceding that was from the 4th. With all the Mojave issues, I would have expected an uptick in traffic.

Perhaps just a stunned silence, for a moment ?

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The last one in the archives is from Sept. 16, same in my inbox. I actually hadn’t noticed it had stopped, since I have replaced the list with the LNS forums as my goto source for answers to AppleScript questions.


No, I sent a few messages the last days and nothing seems to have come through.

Mmm … server overload, then ?

( or a sudden flood mistaken by the system as a denial-of-service attack ? )

( Unless, of course, the mail system now runs on Mojave and some process is waiting for a permission ? )


One note does now seem to have made it through:

Yes, I replied to the list but my reply seems lost in the ether.

(Does anyone know where the release notes for AppleScript in 10.14 might be?)

Here are the 10.14 (Mojave) release notes. Last time I looked there was no mention of AppleScript but today I see they’ve added two entries:

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Ed, your reply came through for me before you posted this. Only those two messages so far, though.

@alldritt Mark, thanks for the update. At least they added something to the Mojave release notes. Who knows—maybe we will soon see a separate AppleScript 10.14 release note.

Perhaps, but it may just all be in sunset / legacy mode now.

If they are pushing towards more convergence of iOS and macOS, it may be hard to see an obvious role for much further development of AppleScript.

Apologies for this rambling post but this thread brings up a number of issues I’ve been thinking about for a long time. I’ll probably have to fork this into a seperate topic as I’m sure others will have opinions they want to add.

I have no direct knowledge, but my view is that AppleScript has been in maintenance mode for many years (I’ve been referring to this as benign neglect). Apple does what is has to keep AppleScript running with each new macOS release and to fix serious bugs that may arise. Other than that, nothing is happening. The same can probably be said of JavaScript For Automation and Automator.

Shortcuts on iOS is a fascinating thing to watch. The folks who developed Workflow (on which Shortcuts is based) were, in my view, masterful in their development and marketing. Unlike AppleScript, Automator and JXA, Shortcuts (and Workflow before it) is useful by anyone out of the box. The pre-built automations and the gallery of automations people can get allow the tool to have utility for those that have no interest in learning how to develop automations of their own. And then there is the growing collection of shortcuts available publicly (see Sharecuts).

This is where we all, in my view, missed the boat with AppleScript. AppleScript needed to be useful, and visually present, for people who have no interest in developing their own scripts. Many people created and distributed very useful scripts (Doug Adams’ vast collection of iTunes scripts comes to mind), but there was no way to put these scripts in front of the vast macOS user base. Sure, Apple provided the system wide Scripts menu and other facilities, but AppleScript and Automator solutions were never front and centre.

With the cross-platform APIs (Marzipan) Apple promised at this past WWDC, it would seem that moving Shortcuts to macOS is very possible. Will they choose to surface AppleScript within a macOS Shortcuts or develop some new means of interacting with applications via AppleEvents? Will they try and surface application object models, or will they stick with the simpler and limited call-and-response model of x-callback-urls?

While I use AppleScript all the time and my business depends on it, I don’t think AppleScrip has to be the future. We’ve learned so much in the past 20+ years and there has to be a better way. AppleScript’s uniqueness is its ability to form AppleEvent commands. Everything else about the language is bettered by other scripting languages. The visual programming model of Automator and Shortcuts may extend to handle some of AppleScript strengths - who knows.

I think that Apple has let the cat out of the bag by releasing Shortcuts on iOS. There is no way to reverse course there and demand for greater power in Shortcuts is going to drive Apple to go further. I see this as a turning point for macOS automation. If people see what Shortcuts can do for them on their Phone, the’ll be asking for the same or better on their Macs. The difference this time is that the iPhone and iPad have an audience so much larger than we ever had on the Mac.


I was also interested to see Apple allowing Scriptable (which interacts well with Shortcuts) on the iOS App Store: