April 22nd, 2006
One of the things I find myself doing a fair amount is making small tweaks to AppleScripts. Somewhat less frequently, I write big ones. AppleScript is great because with GUI scripting, even non-scriptable applications can be controlled. And since AppleScripts can run shell scripts, the potential is enormous. So I’m a big fan.
And, for many years, I’ve been a big fan of Script Debugger. Well, not too long ago Script Debugger 3 was starting to show it’s age. The latest version of Apple’s Script Editor is pretty feature-rich and fairly smooth to use, and Script Debugger 3 was a bit behind. Version 3 was a port of the OS 9 version and still really felt like it. It didn’t support newer script formats, the editor was getting klunky, etc.
Well, Late Night Software finally released version 4 of Script Debugger a few months ago–and, for lack of a more eloquent term, it rocks. I just googled “script debugger review” and got only hits for older versions. Well, that needs to be corrected. If you do even a moderate amount of AppleScripting, get SD4. The UI has been updated and polished some, but what really makes it great are the new bits of functionality.
One of my favorites is the live inspector (which they call the Explorer—horrible name, I know, sounds like Micro$soft). SD4 has a palette, and on this palette is a list of applications. With a pair of clicks, SD opens a window which gives you live access to all the current variables for that application. And the new inspector is great, making it very easy to navigate those objects. What was the name of the appropriate variable for that application’s window? Just a couple clicks, and there it is, right in front of you. And, if you can remember anything, you can search on it, and SD does a great job with that, too. Debugging is smoother than ever, and now it’s multi-threaded so you can run more than one script at a time.
Overall, it’s a way-cool tool. There were a few glitches in the initial 4.0 release (crashed on me several times), but now it’s up to 4.0.2 and those all seem to be gone. I now look forward to AppleScripting, which hasn’t been true in a while. Kudos to the gang over at Late Night