Nice episode! I’m eager to see everyone’s examples!
Loved the epsisode. Are there any tutorials for apps like Data Jar or even ToolBox Pro? I want to take my knowledge to the next level but I find these apps difficult to master.
As a Software Engineer, this episode was a good listen, but I couldn’t help but feel @RosemaryOrchard and @simonbs were holding back a bit. Maybe on an even nerdier podcast, the conversation would get to the nitty gritty. Great to hear the types of challenges being faced by Devs are pretty universal!
I think @MacSparky’s comment about being a Problem Solver is universal to the Automators audience, whether they are a Software Engineer or not. I think Automators walks a pretty fine line between nerd and Dev - keep it up guys!
Maybe on an even nerdier podcast, the conversation would get to the nitty gritty.
Sad to admit but I studiously avoid podcast listening; I don’t mind skimming a written transcript but an hour-plus of my life is a big ask if I don’t know what I’m getting in return for that commitment. (Not to mention my auditory attention span is abysmal. I forget the start of your sentence before you reach the middle. Bear of very little brain, I am.)
TBH, if you’re automations are really That Good, you shouldn’t need to talk about them ’cos you’d have the whole world using them already.
OTOH, if someone does a podcast about all of the automation things that don’t work well, let me know. Those are much more fun, and far more educational too. Not least because just occasionally some smart, insightful, really ambitious person might listen and think “Oh hey, I could do better myself…”, and who knows then what greater work might emerge. That’s exciting. Disruption is good, be it of comfortably, complacently mediocre end-user products or of comfortably, complacently mediocre vendor assumptions that what we users have today is “Good Enough” for us.
Cos the thing is, any fule can whip up a shiny new Automation Platform that can do some of the things for some of the people for some of the time. Building a platform that can scale up—and down—to cover everyone’s needs… ah, that’s the real Holy Grail. Let’s have more talk about how to make that, and perhaps some mad fool out there will feel the urge to go and actually build it!
Yup, LOL, hard nope. That’s the execrable #FailWhale that dug AppleScript and the rest of Mac Automation in its grave, failing so hard and fast that in wake of its launch-day sinking Apple killed the entire Mac Automation department and fired the PM responsible. Do Not Want.
BTW, an alternative to Simon’s work is John Lindquist’s ScriptKit, which is also a very nice, automator-oriented product (but not on iOS, boo!), and which also has the advantage of being stock Node.js underneath, which means you get npm support and the rest of the Node ecosystem goodness right out of the box. Alas, Node is V8 underneath, which means Apple can never adopt it directly (V8 being Google product).
Maybe if Simon and John were to tag-team… ISTR there are third-party libraries that give JSCore access to most npm modules too. Opportunities lie where you invent ’em.
 It’s not. Apple Automation today blows. Far, far harder than it should. (Technically one small expression of a vastly larger fish-rots-from-the-head-down problem: Cook’s long decade of steady-hand leadership all but rendering the world’s greatest disruptor into an immaculately oiled cuckoo clock.
 Sadly not out of a cannon into the sun, but I take what grim satisfaction I can.
Perhaps you are thinking of Bun?
Having dug around, I was thinking of jscshim.
One immediate annoyance:
bun doesn’t seem to offer an interactive shell, though it runs
.js files okay. OTOH, its ability to run
.ts files out of the box is very sweet (something I wish
Also ridiculously easy to spin up an HTTP server using the example code on their home page (instant working demo: good)… once I realized I was expected to copy-paste this code into a
http.js file in my home folder (their demo instructions never said to do this: bad).
Package manager is a bit rough, and I’m a little concerned about it stepping on my node installation’s toes since
bun install likes to call the module directory
node_modules too. (OTOH, if I let it use my established
node_modules directory, it barfs errors.) If you can import and use the
objc module in bun, I’d be interested to hear.
It constantly surprises and frustrates me how many geeks create all these terrific technologies but have no clue how to promote and sell them beyond their own immediate niche. It’s a definite geek weakness: failure to see outside of their own comfort zone. As a result, they fixate on “making the tech even better”—faster, more features, etc, etc, etc—in the hopes that this will somehow sell it to more users, instead of realizing their tech is [already more than] Good Enough; and it’s everything else—packaging and presentation, marketing and sales, building brand-awareness—which they need to work at improving.
(I’ve actually been on the threshold of Apple adopting my tech in macOS, and blowing that opportunity exactly because I didn’t understand this until many years later.)
A company like Apple isn’t looking for amazing technologies; it’s looking for adequate technology that’s packaged as an amazing product, with a large, growing, highly desireable market which is going to fall over itself en-masse for that product the day it’s unveiled at WWDC or whatever.
That’s why Apple bought WorkflowHQ. Shortcuts technology isn’t a patch on what the JS community has today. What sold Workflow is that its developers packaged and marketed their tech really well: a single, coherent, attractive-looking product targeting a highly desireable market with a polished user experience.
Whereas JS makers have a metric ton-load of great toys all scattered over the place at random, and no-one ever thinks to pull the best of them all together and tie the whole package up in a lovely bow and promote as The Must-Have Solution for the world’s ten million hungry ambitious JS users. Much as I dislike JS as a language, I cannot deny that is a helluva opportunity there for the taking. Yet it sits there, no-one within the JS world apparently interested in taking it.
Great Presentation and Positioning—a compelling product vision—is the real key to mass-market success, and sooner folks like Simon and the Bun devs get as good at that side as they are at the techie aspect, the sooner they can elevate their work from pleasing thousands (and playing distant second fiddle to the mighty Node.js), to delighting millions (and running laps around it)! Hey, I live in hope.
Great episode! @simonbs, could you please provide a script from Ukrainian to check blackouts? As an Apple reseller here I could spread it wide. Thank you!