Tech Support FAQ

FAQ stands for "Frequently Asked Questions". (It turns out that it's often easier to describe potential problems as statements rather than questions, but who's counting?)

Many questions are answered in the "Tips & Tricks" example scripts. Please review them!

Q: Are there any problems with Player & MacOS 8.5.x?

A: Player 1.5 works fine (with a few exceptions noted in Application Info). Player 1.2 and earlier have the following problems:

Player 1.1 may have trouble selecting menus on certain configurations. Solution: upgrade to 1.2 (free) or 1.5 (paid).

We also have unconfirmed reports of conflicts with BeHierarchic 3.1 (a substitute for the Apple Menu Options control panel) and OT Premier Timer 1.3.3B (a digital clock that keeps track of time online).

Q: If I upgrade to Player 1.5, will all my scripts still work?

A: On OS 8.1 and below, the behavior should be identical. (There were many internal changes to Player so we can't guarantee identical behavior; if you see a difference, please let us know.) On OS 8.5, the behavior should be identical (with a few exceptions noted in Application Info) if you're using the same versions of applications as on 8.1, and if the new OS doesn't change anything about those applications. A counter-example: printing to disk using the LaserWriter driver calls up the "classic" standard file dialog on OS 8.1 but calls up the new Navigation Services dialog on 8.5. Player's "set dialog folder" has no effect with Navigation Services -- and, this particular instance doesn't yield control to the script so Player can't even dismiss the dialog. (See Application Info for details.)

Q: If I upgrade to the latest versions of all my applications, will my scripts still work?

A: Maybe, maybe not. The user interface often changes between versions, so the names of menus or dialog items may need to be changed in the script. Other changes may be harder -- or perhaps even impossible -- to workaround. If you have have multiple Runtime licenses to automate a process that's deployed on many machines, be sure to test any mission-critical scripts before upgrading every machine. If you're using Player for batch processing and the new version presents problems, consider leaving the old version on an old machine and dedicate it for batch jobs.

Q: Are there any problems with Player & MacOS 8.0 or 8.1?

A: In Player 1.1 and earlier, the "do popup" verb may cause a pop-up to stay up until the user clicks to dismiss it. Note that Player 1.1 clicks a second time on a pop-up to workaround a problem in 1.03. Solution: upgrade to 1.2 (free) or 1.5 (paid). In rare cases, you might see the same problem with Player 1.2 or 1.5; a mouse delay of 7 (or perhaps more on a slow machine) should fix it.

Q: Player doesn't select a dialog item and doesn't report an error -- in fact, my script just seems to stop. (Or, it reports an error but only after I dismiss the dialog by hand.)

A: We have seen this happen when a dialog calls up a sub-dialog and in a few other isolated cases. The problem has nothing to do with Player per se, the problem is that the app isn't giving control to AppleScript or Frontier, which then can't tell Player what to do. There's an easy test to verify the problem: put a beep right before the Player line that isn't executing; your script won't beep. See the "my script stops" example scripts (in the "Tips and Tricks" folder or Frontier table) for further discussion and solutions.

Q: I just bought Player (or just installed a new utility, or am trying to run my scripts on someone else's machine using our Runtime license) and can't get any menu command to work.

A: First, make sure there is no modal dialog present, that the menu is enabled (not grayed out) and that you can select it by hand. If all of these are true, see Player 1.5's new "set menu selection location" verb and/or the "Software Conflicts" section of Application Info.

Q: I haven't changed anything and there is no software conflict; the menu commands just suddenly stopped working.

A: In rare cases, the menu verbs may return the error "Menu could not be selected" for no apparent reason. To fix, create and run a one line script:

tell app "PreFab Player™" to set target window to 1 -- AppleScript
Player.setTargetWindow(1)   « Frontier's UserTalk

Q: I have trouble controlling ... (insert the name of some application here).

A: See Application Info for notes on problems you may encounter with specific software products. Also, see if there is a folder (or Frontier table) of example scripts for your application.

Q: Help! My script isn't doing what I expect, how can I stop it?

A: Hold command-period to abort a script. (Player checks before executing each command, it will not abort in the middle.) You could also try to bring your script to the front by selecting it from the application menu (upper right); a command-period that the script intercepts should stop it directly. Or, bring to the front an application other than the one Player is supposed to be controlling, a Player verb is likely to fail because it can't find the appropriate menu or dialog item. (Be careful! If Player is typing, it may keep going and overwrite text in the newly frontmost app.)

Q: Balloon help doesn't work. I type control-option-? and nothing happens.

A: Please read the "Balloon Help" section of Chapter 4. Composing Scripts. The electronic copy may have a few notes that aren't in the printed copy. (International users: see the new International Notes file.) As noted in Application Info, balloon help doesn't work in the Chooser or other desk accessories.

Q: I'm trying to select an item from a pop-up menu that doesn't have a name or ID; the balloon help shows only XY coordinates. Should I use the drag verb?

A: No! Carefully read the manual page on "do menu popup item" (choosePopup in Frontier). The information was in the 1.0 manual; we've added an example in the 1.1 manual. Just do:

do menu popup item "any old item" of popup {x, y}  -- AppleScript
choosePopup( {x, y}, "any old item" )   « Frontier's UserTalk

Q: I've typed the exact name of an object but Player can't find it.

A: Make sure that the object really is available at that point in the script, and that you've typed the exact name shown in the balloon, e.g. the "Don't Save" button often includes a "curly" single quote. To see if it's a known problem with a specific application, refer to Application Info. For general advice, refer to the "Obstacles" section of Chapter 4. Composing Scripts. If the name simply refuses to work, the ID (or, worst case, the XY location) usually will be fine.

Q: The item name includes punctuation; is that a problem?

A: As long as you have the punctuation right, it shouldn't matter. However, if the letters or digits before the punctuation are enough to uniquely specify the object, try this abbreviated string as the name. Unless you change the default behavior, Player will find the first item that begins with the characters included in the name you specify.

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Updated on 4/18/99 by Scott S. Lawton (

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