Sal Soghoian, writing for MacStories (there’s a byline I never expected to write — it’s going to take a while to get used to Sal as a civilian):
Here’s a thought experiment. Let’s imagine that Apple decided to
combine their engineering resources to form app teams that
delivered both iOS and macOS versions of applications.
In such a scenario it may seem logical to retain application
features common to both platforms and to remove those that were
perceived to require extra resources. Certainly Automation would
be something examined in that regard, and the idea might be
posited that: “App Extensions are equivalent to, or could be a
replacement for, User Automation in macOS.” And by User
Automation, I’m referring to Apple Event scripting, Automator,
Services, the UNIX command line utilities, etc.
Let’s examine the validity of that conjecture, beginning with
overviews of App Extensions and User Automation.
It’s a great article, and I think Sal’s case is very strong. App extensions are great, but they’re no replacement for automation. His conclusion:
But let’s take a step back, and think about this topic
differently. Why not have both?
Perhaps it is time for Apple and all of us to think of User
Automation and App Extensions in terms of “AND” instead of “OR.”
To embrace the development of a new cross-platform automation
architecture, maybe called “AutomationKit,” that would incorporate
the “everyman openness” of User Automation with the focused
abilities of developer-created plugins. App Extensions could
become the new macOS System Services, and Automator could save
workflows as Extensions with access to the Share Menu and new
“non-selection” extension points. And AutomationKit could even
include an Apple Event bridge so that it would work with the
existing macOS automation tools.
Must-read piece for anyone who cares about the Mac as a power user platform. I’m OK with the current situation, where the Mac has these automation capabilities and iOS does not. I’d prefer to see iOS gain serious automation capabilities — even if it’s an altogether new technology. But I’m dreadfully afraid of a future where MacOS is devolved to iOS’s state, with no supported automation technologies.
★ Wednesday, 11 January 2017