Resources for Learning AppleScript

Anyone have any good resources for learning AppleScript? I’m interested in using it to automate some tasks.

There are a few books on Amazon, but they seem fairly old. I wasn’t sure if they were still relevant.

Alternatively any good training videos would work, perhaps you have a favorite YouTuber with good videos on the subject.


Robert / @ArcaneCode

I got AppleScript: The Definitive Guide (2nd edition) by Matt Neuburg. It’s old but AppleScript hasn’t changed much since then.

Applescript 1-2-3 by Sal Soghoian and Bill Cheeseman

I’d say go with apple’s Javascript instead if you are starting from scratch. Applescript is great but limited to Apple, if you use javascript, event Apple’s flavour, that knowledge will help you in all sorts of other environment. AS is really on it’s own when it comes to “programming language” where as Javascript is more of a “real” programming language. Just my 2 cents here but I wish I had Javascript knowledge now that it’s everywhere:-(

One more enthusiastic vote for the two books already recommended: AppleScript 1-2-3 and AppleScript: The Definitive Guide.

I will soon begin my third reading of the Neuburg book. Neuburg is a coder, but he is first and foremost a teacher in the classical tradition, and it shows in the quality of the books he writes. I sure wish he’d write a book on JavaScript for Automation. I know he was once in the process of writing a book about using Ruby to automate the Mac.

Also, save yourself a lot of frustration and buy a Script Debugger license. I learned that far too late in life.

+1 for Script Debugger. At $100 the price is steep, but it’s pretty much impossible to develop using the standard Script Editor.

You don’t have to pay that amount. Since version 7 they introduced a light version you can use for free. Although several features are disabled it is still many times better than the standard Script Editor. To be able to see the values of the variables after execution of the script is indispensable.

See here for the difference between both versions:

I have a license (for several years), but I think the free version would be sufficient for me.

I also own Matt Neuburg’s book and I get many code examples from the Macscripter forum:

True, but for me breakpoints are indispensable.

Thanks for the advice. Based on the enthusiastic endorsement I purchased Neuburg’s book, and downloaded Script Debugger. For now I’ll use the free version, but if I get into it heavily I’ll upgrade to the paid version. I’ve also bookmarked the MacScripter site, I’m sure it will be helpful as I begin learning.