DOS and UNIX folks have had "batch processing" for years; even the Apple ][ had built-in BASIC. While the Mac was a major advance in ease-of-use, it was a step backwards in automation power. UserLand wrote a great article on this topic when Frontier was released; I wonder if I can find it.... If someone spots it on the UserLand website before I dig it up, please let me know.
Some people are doing amazing, productive, fun things with scripts. But in general, scripting still hasn't really caught on, with developers and Macintosh owners each (apparently) waiting for the other to jump on the bandwagon. Frontier sales languished. Apple stopped evangelizing, marketing or enhancing AppleScript.
Then, suddenly, came the Internet and especially the Web. Much of the leading software was scriptable. In May '95, UserLand released Frontier for free, and began to turn it into a content development tool and (along with some dedicated members of the scripting community) web server CGI tool. Apple rediscovered the publishing market, and figured out that scripting has quietly become an important tool for workflow automation. Michael Spindler featured two topics in his keynote address at the Sept. '95 Seybold publishing conference: scripting and (separately) the Web. Scripting appears as the #8 of 20 key advantages over windows. Will these glimmers turn into solid commitment, or will Apple fumble again? Has the scripting market gained enough momentum to really grow on its own?
When OpenDoc is released, will every "part" really be scriptable? (I haven't been tracking the details, so comments are welcome.) Will CyberDog, Apple's OpenDoc Internet solution, help bring both scripting and OpenDoc to the internet masses, or will it be too late to make a difference? Will "geeks who write scripts" continue to run the web, and flock to Frontier?
Well, we can't provide definitive answers to these questions, but we can provide the definitive source of information on Macintosh scripting.
This site built and maintained using Stage Three, a set of custom Frontier scripts.