New to A/S new to Script Debugger

Hello… I’m new here.

Although I’ve been a Mac user since System 6 (late 1990s) and familiar with other programming environments, I’ve never really got to grips with AppleScript.

I’m using the trial version of Script Debugger 8.0 on macOS 11.4.

Would someone kindly point me to (ideally video) tutorials that really do start at the very beginning…writing your first AppleScript in Script Debugger-type’, please?

I’ve looked at the recommended video tutorials on the Late Night site (sorry - can’t include links yet) but need to step back even further. Do such complete beginner resources exist, please?


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Hello Mark !

I was a bit like you. I’ve used Macs since 95 but only took the AppleScript dive maybe 5-6 years ago and I’m glad I did.

I would suggest that you search the web for “AppleScript” + the app you want to script, first. Because it’s easier to work on something that will be immediately useful.

The Macautomation site has some good examples:

There used to be a list of examples on the Apple Developer site but I can’t find it, although it has a reference site:

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Thanks so much, Jean Christophe!

Just what I needed. I’ll start small and simple and see where it take me.

You suggestions much appreciated!

The Late Night Support page has some really helpful links:
Support | Late Night Software

Also, MacScripter has been an active forum for like 20 years now and has a ton of good advice and sample scripts.

And, you can ask questions relating to appleScript (not just Script Debugger) here on this forum, and you’re sure to get an answer. (usually good answers!)

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Thanks, Ed! Yes, those links in Late Night Support were the ones I meant.

(I’m not yet allowed to post links - as such - here.)

I have a lot to get me going - thanks again… and for the re-assuring welcome!

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Here is our compendium of AppleScript related links. Not beginner focused unfortunately, but its a good starting place.


Thanks, Mark; all noted :slight_smile: .

Hi Mark,

While there is a ton of good, even excellent references, I have never found a really good tutorial site for AppleScript.
But to start from the very beginning with no knowledge of AppleScript, I almost always refer people to AppleScript: Beginner’s Tutorial –

Unfortunately, the site has not been updated for years, but the basics of AppleScript are still the same.

However, at the risk of incurring the wrath of my good AppleScript friends here in this forum, I would ask you this question: Should you learn AppleScript or JavaScript for Automation (JXA)?

I can tell you right now that since you have programming experience with other languages, you will learn JXA much, much faster, and you won’t suffer the frustration of trying to make sense of AppleScript.

I have to share this quote provided by @joshparnham:

“If you’re used to a programming language, AppleScript will drive you crazy” – Sal Soghoian

For a long time, Sal was the automation project manager at Apple, responsible for many things including AppleScript and JXA. Sal (@otto-automator ) if you happen to be hanging around the forum these days, I’d love for you to confirm or refute this quote.

The biggest thing that AppleScript has going for it is Script Debugger.
And Script Debugger is worth having even if you intend to program mostly in JXA.
Because SD makes it so easy to explore the various application object models.
When I am trying to write an automation script (with one or more apps) for the first time, I almost always start with AppleScript in SD to learn the app object model.

If you want to consider JXA, I’d point you to these resources:

There are a number of naysayers of both AppleScript and JXA – you just have to ignore them and try to learn from those willing to share, who know something about which they are talking. :wink:

BTW, if you want to learn AppleScript to automate your workflows, you may also want to consider this great tool: Keyboard Maestro.
And you can get a lot of great help on the Keyboard Maestro Forum.

Anyway, you have some great choices, and a great adventure ahead of you.
Best of luck, and don’t hesitate to ask questions here and in the KM Forum.

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Thanks, Jim: how kind of you to go to the time and trouble tp provide me with such a gold mine; much appreciated :slight_smile: .

Had already bookmarked; I plan(ned) to go there next.

That, too, is a very helpful question. I had always defaulted to A/S. Now I can see I ought to consider JXA as well. I used to be a web developer and have some familiarity with JavaScript; but I’ve never really liked it, or enjoyed working with it, alas.

I remember my first exposure was in the late 1980s when the syntax of A/S seemed typical of the approach to computing which had been adopted and developed by Apple: make it easy and make sure it “just works” :slight_smile: .

But I’ve never felt at home in A/S - so now I have an alternative to consider.

Therein, I think, lies the paradox: I settled on SD precisely because it seems to offer a way into scripting with A/S in and of itself.

I’ve been a KM user for almost as long as it’s been available. Truly amazing tool. Thanks!

I guess what I really want at this stage is a quick way - at least initially - to have those apps I use most work for me. That does include (repetitive) tasks in the Finder.

I tend to think more procedurally than in terms of object-orientation. So was drawn more to A/S with its neatly indented blocks of single commands each doing something recognizable.

I suspect, though - as your quote from Sal Soghoian may imply - that A/S’s somewhat ‘forced’ quasi-natural language syntax harks back to those days 40 years ago when that reflected the “…for the rest of us” beliefs of Apple; and that it may actually hide more than it reveals.

Thanks again, Jim. Your advice received very gratefully. I shall go away and think, explore and…hopefully… decide!

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I can certainly attest to that…

FWIW, I’m used to scripting in Swift, which works like a charm, except when you want to interface apps. My wish is for a Swift-Applescript bridge.

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Thanks, Denis; good to know I’m not alone :slight_smile: .

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There is this project. I think hhas may have abandoned development, but it may be complete enough to be useful:


Thanks, I’ll certainly look into that.


Also have a programming background and new to AppleScript.

Did you ever find any?

Also have the same concern.
The software that I am trying to work with is DevonThink. The scripts that come with it is AppleScript so I guess that is why I would choose Applescript because it gives me a starting point.



Yes - that’s one of the applications I want to work with.

As you can see in this thread, several helpful people have jumped in and made very helpful and welcome suggestions.


Hi Mark,

Nice to meet another Devonthink’er :smiley:

Yes! Likewise; isn’t DT an amazing piece of software.

You’re familiar with their forum (this forum won’t let me post links - yet?) … folks always extremely helpful there too :slight_smile: