TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Adobe CS3 and AppleScript

Volume Number: 24 (2008)
Issue Number: 02
Column Tag: Application Scripting

Adobe CS3 and AppleScript

by Ben Waldie

Upgrading an application, despite giving you access to the latest and greatest features, tends to present some nagging questions. Will your existing documents still work with the new version of the application? Will any of your existing data, settings, or preferences be lost or overwritten? Will conflicts with other applications or software arise?

If you've incorporated the application into an AppleScript-based automated workflow, as is the case with many Adobe users, then some additional concerns may arise. Will your existing AppleScripts continue to work? If not, how long will it take to update them? The answers to these questions depend entirely on the changes made by the application developer. If the developer has changed the application significantly, then the AppleScript implementation may also have changed significantly too. If this is the case, then many changes to your existing scripts could be necessary.

Fortunately, Adobe applications seem to have good backward compatibility. In my experience, when installing updated Adobe software, I've generally found that only minor changes, if any, are required in my existing scripts. New terminology may exist for new application features, but existing terminology rarely seems to change much. And, if it does, then it's usually well documented. In this month's column, we'll explore some of the scripting changes in Adobe Creative Suite 3, as well as provide some tips for upgrading your existing AppleScripts.

Whenever upgrading an application, whether it's part of an automated workflow or not, it's always a good idea to begin by backing up your existing data. Then, if you've got the means to do so, set up a test environment, where you may conduct parallel testing with the new software. Make sure it works as expected, and make any necessary changes to existing AppleScripts. When you're sure things are working as expected, then begin integrating the updated application and scripts into your live workflow.

Acrobat 8.x

Throughout the AppleScript community, it's widely assumed that Adobe has ceased expanding Acrobat Professional's AppleScript support, in favor of the cross platform JavaScript. Therefore, I'm afraid that any new scripting functionality in Acrobat Professional 8.x (which is included with CS3) is JavaScript-specific. According to Acrobat's JavaScript API reference guide, Acrobat Professional 8.x introduces a handful of new and modified object properties and methods. However, none of these are directly accessible via AppleScript.

That said, you can access all of Acrobat's JavaScript functionality from AppleScript by using the do script command, and passing it the JavaScript code you wish to execute or directing it to a file containing JavaScript code. Just be sure that you've enabled JavaScript in Acrobat's preferences.

The following simple example demonstrates how to use Acrobat's do script command to retrieve the title property of the frontmost opened document:

tell application "Adobe Acrobat Professional"
   do script "this.info.title;"
end tell
--> "My Document"

Acrobat Professional still includes limited AppleScript support for performing some basic functions, such as opening documents, deleting pages, inserting pages, and printing pages. If you've got an existing script that uses this terminology, then it will probably continue to work.

Acrobat's AppleScript terminology hasn't been updated in quite some time and it doesn't look likely to be expanded again in the future. Acrobat's JavaScript support is far more robust, and for best results and a greater chance of future compatibility, I recommend using it whenever automating Acrobat. You can find a comprehensive guide to Acrobat's JavaScript terminology on Adobe's developer website using the link provided later in this column. You can also test your JavaScript code within Acrobat itself by enabling the JavaScript debugger. To display the debugger, simply type Command+J. See figure 1.


Figure 1. Acrobat's JavaScript Debugger.

At the time this column was written, Adobe had not yet officially updated Acrobat Professional for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. According to Adobe's Leopard capability guide, the estimated release date for this update is sometime in January of 2008.

Acrobat Distiller

Like Acrobat Professional, Acrobat Distiller's AppleScript support remains unchanged in version 8.x. It contains a few basic terms, the most useful being the distill command, which may be used to convert a specified file to PDF format, using a specified PDF settings file.

Bridge CS3

Bridge CS3 introduces basic AppleScript support in the form of a do javascript command. Although this may seem insignificant, like Acrobat's do script command, this command gives AppleScripters access to Bridge's extensive JavaScript implementation. The following example code demonstrates how to use this command to run a slideshow of selected images, using Bridge's current slideshow options:

tell application "Bridge CS3"
   do javascript "var thumbs = app.document.getSelection();
   app.runSlideshow(thumbs);"
end tell

Illustrator CS3

Illustrator CS3 includes a number of AppleScript enhancements. Here are some that may be of particular interest. For a complete list of changes, check out the Illustrator CS3 Scripting Guide.

Commands have been added for undo and redo. To undo the last operation, you would use the following code:

tell application "Adobe Illustrator"
   undo
end tell

The path item class now possesses a read-only length property, allowing you to determine the length of the path, in points. Previously, you would have had to calculate this, based on the position of the path's ends.

tell application "Adobe Illustrator"
   tell current document
      length of path item 1
   end tell
end tell
--> 116.14274597168

Open file and export options have been expanded. AutoCAD and Freehand open file options are newly accessible via AppleScript, as are AutoCAD export options. In addition, Photoshop open options have been expanded to include a preserve layers property and a layer comp property. Flash export options have also been expanded to include additional properties, including export all symbols, export version, Flash playback security, include metadata, and more. Consult the Open Options Suite and Export Options Suite in Illustrator's AppleScript dictionary to access these classes and properties.

InDesign CS3

InDesign CS3 only appears to have a handful of scripting changes. This means that you should have few, if any, changes to make to existing CS2 AppleScripts, in order for them to work with CS3. Primarily of interest are the following:

The place command, which is used to place a file onto a page, spread, or page item, has been updated to return a list of items placed, rather than an individual item placed. The reason for this change is that in some instances, the place command may be used to place multiple objects. For example, the following code places a specified image on two different pages in the active document:

set theImage to choose file with prompt "Choose an image to place:"
tell application "Adobe InDesign CS3"
   tell active document
      place theImage on {page 1, page 2}
   end tell
end tell
--> {{image id 218 of rectangle id 222 of page id 177 
of spread id 172 of document "Untitled-1" of application "Adobe InDesign CS3"},
{image id 223 of rectangle id 225 of page id 201 of spread id 196 of
document "Untitled-1" of application "Adobe InDesign CS3"}}

The resize, rotate, and shear commands have been replaced by a more generic transform command, which can be used to perform multiple types of transformations. To use this command, your script must first create what's known as a transformation matrix, which will serve as the settings for the transformation. A transformation matrix object possesses various properties, such as horizontal and vertical scale, shear angle, rotation angle, and so forth, which may be specified when the transformation matrix is created. These properties will control how the specified objects will be transformed when the transform command is used. See figure 2.


Figure 2. The properties of a transformation matrix.

This is sure to confuse even the most experienced scripters. So, perhaps the best way to illustrate the creation of a transformation matrix and the use of the transform command is with an example. This example code scales the selected page items in the active document to 25%.

tell application "Adobe InDesign CS3"
   -- Create a transformation matrix that will scale to 25% horizontal and 25% vertical
   set theTranformationMatrix to make transformation matrix with ¬
   properties {horizontal scale factor:0.25, vertical scale factor:0.25}
   -- Get the selected page items
   set thePageItems to selection
   -- Transform the selected page items using the transformation matrix that we created earlier
   transform thePageItems in parent coordinates from top left anchor with ¬
   matrix theTranformationMatrix
end tell

Some additional related commands have also been added to InDesign CS3, including transform again, transform again individually, and clear transformations.

Script Versioning

InDesign possesses a unique feature, which I have yet to discover in any other scriptable applications. This feature, known as script versioning, allows InDesign CS3 to run scripts that were written for earlier versions of InDesign. This means that you theoretically should be able to run your existing InDesign CS or CS2 AppleScripts in InDesign CS3 without making any terminology changes. Actually, script versioning is not new to InDesign CS3, and was around in CS2 as well.

To utilize this feature, your script must be written to target InDesign CS3, but use terms from InDesign CS or CS2 (utilizing AppleScript's using terms from clause). You must also set InDesign's script preferences (via your script) to use the scripting implementation version appropriate for your script. For example:

-- Target InDesign CS3
tell application "Adobe InDesign CS3"
   -- Change the scripting implementation version to CS2
   set version of script preferences to 4.0
   -- Perform some CS2 code
   using terms from "InDesign CS2"
      -- Add your InDesign CS2 code here
   end using terms from
end tell

Please note that, in order for the code above to compile, you would need to have both InDesign CS3 and CS2 installed on your development machine. However, only CS3 would need to be installed on the machine that will run the script.

Photoshop CS3

Like the other CS3 applications, Photoshop doesn't introduce a large number of scripting changes. Here are a few:

There are now two separate versions of Photoshop, each with slightly different options. The version you have depends on the Creative Suite package you have purchased. Creative Suite Standard comes with Photoshop Standard, whereas Creative Suite Premium comes with Photoshop Extended. Your scripts can now determine the version of Photoshop installed by using the new feature enabled command. For example, this code checks to see if Photoshop is the extended version. A boolean value is returned.

tell application "Adobe Photoshop CS3"
   feature enabled name "photoshop/extended"
end tell
--> true

Photoshop Extended includes a new feature that allows you to manually count items in an image by placing markers throughout the image. These count markers are accessible via AppleScript using the count item class. The following example code retrieves a list of count items in the current document.

tell application "Adobe Photoshop CS3"
   every count item of current document
end tell
--> {count item 1 of document "My Photo" of application "Adobe Photoshop CS3", ¬
  count item 2 of document "My Photo" of application "Adobe Photoshop CS3"}

Photoshop now includes a refresh command, which may be used to allow the application to refresh prior to proceeding with further script execution. For example:

tell application "Adobe Photoshop CS3"
   refresh
end tell

Photoshop now includes a Photoshop open dialog command. When executed, this command displays Photoshop's open dialog, allowing the user to choose the desired files. See Figure 3. References to the chosen files are then returned to the script for further processing.

tell application "Adobe Photoshop CS3"
   Photoshop open dialog
end tell
--> {file "Macintosh HD:Users:bwaldie:Desktop:My Photo.png"}


Figure 3. Photoshop's Open Dialog.

Scripting Documentation

Adobe's scripting documentation is quite extensive, and it keeps getting better with each new release. When upgrading to CS3, one thing that you're likely to notice is that much of the scripting documentation has been re-organized and/or expanded. You can find the CS3 scripting documentation in the following locations:

Acrobat Scripting Documentation (JavaScript only)

Online at http://www.adobe.com/devnet/acrobat/javascript.html

Bridge Scripting Documentation (JavaScript only)

Online at http://www.adobe.com/devnet/bridge/

On the CS3 Content CD in /Documentation/Scripting/Adobe Bridge CS3/

Illustrator Scripting Documentation (AppleScript, JavaScript, and VBScript)

Online at http://www.adobe.com/devnet/illustrator/scripting/

On the CS3 Content CD in /Documentation/Scripting/Adobe Illustrator CS3/

Installed with Illustrator in /Applications/Adobe Illustrator CS3/Scripting/Documentation/

InDesign Scripting Documentation (AppleScript, JavaScript, and VBScript)

Online at http://www.adobe.com/products/indesign/scripting/

On the CS3 Content CD at /Documentation/Scripting/Adobe InDesign CS3/

Photoshop Scripting Documentation (AppleScript, JavaScript, and VBScript)

Online at http://www.adobe.com/devnet/photoshop/scripting/

On the CS3 Content CD in /Documentation/Scripting/Adobe Photoshop CS3/

Installed with Photoshop in /Applications/Adobe Photoshop CS3/Scripting Guide/

In CS3's scripting documentation, you'll find example code, terminology guides, tutorials, scripting version histories, and more.

In Closing

As we've discussed, the AppleScript enhancements in CS3 primarily offer AppleScript support for new features, or enhance existing support with new properties or parameters. Not too many actual changes to existing support have been made, with the exception of a few bug fixes here or there. Because of this, it's unlikely that you'll encounter major issues when upgrading to CS3. However, it's still recommended that you conduct parallel testing and make any necessary changes prior to implementing any new software in a live workflow.

As you continue scripting the applications of the Adobe Creative Suite, be sure to consult the scripting guides and documentation, as these are valuable resources that can often help to clarify things and put you back on track, should you run into trouble. Adobe also provides online user-to-user forums, which offer an excellent way to ask questions, find tips and tricks, network with other users, and more. Here, you'll find scripting-specific forums for all of the CS3 applications. Search them often, and don't be afraid to post questions of your own. http://www.adobe.com/support/forums/index.html

Until next time, keep scripting!


Ben Waldie is president of Automated Workflows, LLC (www.automatedworkflows.com), a company offering AppleScript, Automator, and workflow consulting services to Mac-based businesses. For years, Ben has developed professional automated solutions for companies such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Adobe Systems, Apple Computer, CNN, Microsoft, PC World, and Time Magazine. Ben is the author of Automator for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard: Visual QuickStart Guide (Peachpit Press) and AppleScripting the Finder, as well as an AppleScript training CD (VTC). Ben is a frequent presenter at Macworld Expo and other events, and is president of The Philadelphia Area AppleScript Users Group. Ben can be reached by email at ben@automatedworkflows.com

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Dropbox 193.4.5594 - Cloud backup and sy...
Dropbox is a file hosting service that provides cloud storage, file synchronization, personal cloud, and client software. It is a modern workspace that allows you to get to all of your files, manage... Read more
Google Chrome 122.0.6261.57 - Modern and...
Google Chrome is a Web browser by Google, created to be a modern platform for Web pages and applications. It utilizes very fast loading of Web pages and has a V8 engine, which is a custom built... Read more
Skype 8.113.0.210 - Voice-over-internet...
Skype is a telecommunications app that provides HD video calls, instant messaging, calling to any phone number or landline, and Skype for Business for productive cooperation on the projects. This... Read more
Tor Browser 13.0.10 - Anonymize Web brow...
Using Tor Browser you can protect yourself against tracking, surveillance, and censorship. Tor was originally designed, implemented, and deployed as a third-generation onion-routing project of the U.... Read more
Deeper 3.0.4 - Enable hidden features in...
Deeper is a personalization utility for macOS which allows you to enable and disable the hidden functions of the Finder, Dock, QuickTime, Safari, iTunes, login window, Spotlight, and many of Apple's... Read more
OnyX 4.5.5 - Maintenance and optimizatio...
OnyX is a multifunction utility that you can use to verify the startup disk and the structure of its system files, to run miscellaneous maintenance and cleaning tasks, to configure parameters in the... Read more
Hopper Disassembler 5.14.1 - Binary disa...
Hopper Disassembler is a binary disassembler, decompiler, and debugger for 32- and 64-bit executables. It will let you disassemble any binary you want, and provide you all the information about its... Read more
WhatsApp 24.3.78 - Desktop client for Wh...
WhatsApp is the desktop client for WhatsApp Messenger, a cross-platform mobile messaging app which allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS. WhatsApp Messenger is available for... Read more
War Thunder 2.33.0.135 - Multiplayer war...
In War Thunder, aircraft, attack helicopters, ground forces and naval ships collaborate in realistic competitive battles. You can choose from over 1,500 vehicles and an extensive variety of combat... Read more
Iridient Developer 4.2 - Powerful image-...
Iridient Developer (was RAW Developer) is a powerful image-conversion application designed specifically for OS X. Iridient Developer gives advanced photographers total control over every aspect of... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

A Legitimate Massage Parlor, I Swear – T...
In this week’s Episode of The TouchArcade Show we talk about some of the major new releases on mobile this week including Warframe, we go over all the major news that came out from the Nintendo Direct Partner Showcase on Wednesday, we read our one... | Read more »
TouchArcade Game of the Week: ‘Rainbow S...
I feel like I am in a fever dream right now. What is this game that I’m playing? It’s a Rainbow Six game? But it’s all cutesy, and cartoony, and also kind of psychedelic? How is this a real thing? Well, it’s no fever dream, it is indeed a real thing... | Read more »
SwitchArcade Round-Up: ‘Promenade’, ‘Cho...
Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for February 23rd, 2024. It’s Friday, so we have to check out the remaining releases of the week. Not so many big ones today, but a healthy crop nonetheless. After summarizing all the... | Read more »
Steam Deck Weekly: Gundam Breaker 4 and...
Welcome to this week’s slightly shorter edition of the Steam Deck Weekly. I was a bit unwell this week so no reviews in this edition, but there is a lot of news and new Steam Deck Verified and Playable games to catch up on. I have something special... | Read more »
The 10 Best Run-And-Gun Games for Ninten...
The year 2024 is a rare one, because it is a year with a brand-new Contra game. Contra: Operation Galuga might be the freshest face on the block when it comes to Nintendo Switch run-and-gun action games, but it’s hardly fighting that war alone.... | Read more »
Version 1.4 of Reverse: 1999 will be lan...
Free up your diary for February 29th, as Bluepoch has announced the impending release of the award-winning Reverse: 1999s Version 1.4 update. The Prisoner in the Cave is an Ancient Greece-themed update with new recruits, gameplay modes, and plenty... | Read more »
Premium Mobile RPG ‘Ex Astris’ From ‘Ark...
Arknights developer Hypergryph’s premium RPG Ex Astris () recently had its release date confirmed, and we finally have an extended gameplay showcase. | Read more »
Apple Arcade Weekly Round-Up: Updates fo...
Following yesterday’s big Hello Kitty Island Adventure update, a few more notable game updates and events have gone live on Apple Arcade. Cypher 007 () has gotten its first content update in a few months taking you to Egypt for five new levels... | Read more »
‘Thunder Ray’ and ‘Hime’s Quest’ Are Now...
Crunchyroll has pushed two new games into the Crunchyroll Game Vault including Purple Tree Studio’s Thunder Ray which was already on iOS before as a premium release. Shaun even reviewed it last year. Read his review here. The second game is Poppy... | Read more »
Adorable Kitty-Collector Sequel ‘Neko At...
Ya’ll. This October will mark the ten-year anniversary of Hit Point launching Neko Atsume, the adorable kitty collecting sim that has become a runaway success and essentially created a sub-genre of cozy pet-collecting life sim games. Sure, the... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

16-inch M3 Max MacBook Pro on sale for $300 o...
Amazon is offering a $300 instant discount on one of Apple’s 16″ M3 Max MacBook Pros today. Shipping is free: – 16″ M3 Max MacBook Pros (36GB/1TB/Space Black): $3199, $300 off MSRP Their price is the... Read more
Apple M2 Mac minis on sale for $100 off MSRP...
B&H Photo has Apple’s M2-powered Mac minis in stock and on sale for $100 off MSRP this weekend with prices available starting at $499. Free 1-2 day shipping is available to most US addresses: –... Read more
Apple Watch SE on sale for $50 off MSRP this...
Best Buy has all Apple Watch SE models on sale this weekend for $50 off MSRP on their online store. Sale prices available for online orders only, in-store prices may vary. Order online, and choose... Read more
Deal Alert! Apple 15-inch M2 MacBook Airs on...
Looking for the lowest sale price on a new 15″ M2 MacBook Air? Best Buy has Apple 15″ MacBook Airs with M2 CPUs in stock and on sale today for $300 off MSRP on their online store. Prices valid for... Read more
Amazon discounts iPad mini 6 models up to $12...
Amazon is offering Apple’s 8.3″ WiFi iPad minis for $100-$120 off MSRP, including free shipping, for a limited time. Prices start at $399. Amazon’s prices are among the lowest currently available for... Read more
Apple AirPods Pro with USB-C discounted to $1...
Walmart has Apple’s 2023 AirPods Pro with USB-C in stock and on sale for $199.99 on their online store. Their price is $50 off MSRP, and it’s currently one the lowest prices available for new AirPods... Read more
Apple has 14-inch M3 MacBook Pro with 16GB of...
Apple has 14″ M3 MacBook Pros with 16GB of RAM, Certified Refurbished, available for $270-$300 off MSRP. Each model features a new outer case, shipping is free, and an Apple 1-year warranty is... Read more
Save $318-$432 on 16-inch M3 Max MacBook Pros...
Apple retailer Expercom has 16″ M3 Max MacBook Pros on sale for $318-$432 off MSRP when bundled with a 3-year AppleCare+ Protection Plan. Discounts are available for Silver models as well a Space... Read more
New today at Apple: 16-inch M3 Pro/M3 Max Mac...
Apple is now offering 16″ M3 Pro and M3 Max MacBook Pros, Certified Refurbished, starting at $2119 and ranging up to $530 off MSRP. Each model features a new outer case, shipping is free, and an... Read more
Apple is now offering $300-$480 discounts on...
Apple is now offering 14″ M3 Pro and M3 Max MacBook Pros, Certified Refurbished, starting at $1699 and ranging up to $480 off MSRP. Each model features a new outer case, shipping is free, and an... Read more

Jobs Board

Part-time *Apple* and Peach Research Assist...
…and minimum qualifications: + Assist with planting, pruning, and harvesting of apple and peach trees + Conduct regular maintenance tasks to ensure optimal Read more
Housekeeper, *Apple* Valley Villa - Cassia...
Apple Valley Villa, part of a senior living community, is hiring entry-level Full-Time Housekeepers to join our team! We will train you for this position and offer a Read more
Sublease Associate Optometrist- *Apple* Val...
Sublease Associate Optometrist- Apple Valley, CA- Target Optical Date: Feb 22, 2024 Brand: Target Optical Location: Apple Valley, CA, US, 92307 **Requisition Read more
Sublease Associate Optometrist- *Apple* Val...
Sublease Associate Optometrist- Apple Valley, CA- Target Optical Date: Jan 24, 2024 Brand: Target Optical Location: Apple Valley, CA, US, 92307 **Requisition Read more
Housekeeper, *Apple* Valley Village - Cassi...
Apple Valley Village Health Care Center, a senior care campus, is hiring a Part-Time Housekeeper to join our team! We will train you for this position! In this role, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.