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Unix for Mac OS X Users unlocks the powerful capabilities of Unix that underlie Mac OS X, teaching how to use command-line syntax to perform common tasks such as file management, data entry, and text manipulation. The course teaches Unix from the ground up, starting with the basics of the command line and graduating to powerful, advanced tools like grep, sed, and xargs. The course shows how to enter commands in Terminal to create, move, copy, and delete files and folders; change file ownership and permissions; view and stop command and application processes; find and edit data within files; and use command-line shortcuts to speed up workflow. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this movie I'll show you how to use the Unix command line to communicate with the AppleScript. I'm not going to try to teach you to write AppleScript. I'm certainly no expert on it myself, but I will demonstrate a few useful basics. But if you already know how to write scripts on your own, well, then you'll be able to quickly link the power of AppleScript with the power of Unix and do some really cool things. Now the way we're going to call AppleScripts is by using the Mac only Unix command osascript. OSA stands for Open Scripting Architecture. And after that, we can either provide the file name of the script that we want to run, or rather the path to that file, or we can use the -e option and actually give our instructions right here in the string.
So I can say set volume output muted true. And that will mute our computer. Or I can say output muted false. These two are handy because we can put them in an alias. So for example, I could just jump to the beginning of the line here. alias mute= and I'll put double quotes around it, jump to the end of the line and put double quotes at the end of that. and then let's do the same thing this time with false. We'll make it unmute. Now I can say mute, unmute.
Now remember, if you want to keep those aliases around, you'll need to put them in your bashrc file. We can also use AppleScript to talk to different applications, and the Finder is actually considered application. So we can have an AppleScript that looks like this, osascript -e 'tell application "Finder" to display dialog "Hello"'. Hit Return. You see it starts bouncing down here. I click on it, and there is my dialog box. Once I click OK, it comes back and it actually returns a value to me, which I could also catch and do something within Unix if I needed to.
Now once we start talking the applications, very quickly one line stops being enough. Usually we don't just want to tell an application to do one simple thing, but we want to give it a set of instructions. So that's when you really go about writing scripts and putting them in files. I've created a sample script that you can take a look at. It's going to be inside the Unix files folder that's included with the exercise files. And I'll just let you see what it looks like. It's pretty small script. It just says tell application iTunes and now instead of just a single thing, we're going to have a list of things that are activate, set the sound volume, play, wait 10 seconds, switch to the next track, wait 5 seconds, and then finally quit.
Now if we want to run the script we just type osascript and then the name of it, control and then itunes.scpt. That's typically what you would name the end of your scripts. So it would be .scpt. Hit Return. Wait one moment while iTunes opens up. Then it will play this song for 10 seconds. (Music playing) Switches to the next track. That should play this for 5 seconds and then it shuts down.
Now you can look up more information about iTunes and you can find out there is a lot more that you can do. You can manage your playlist, things like that. You can search for things. All that you can then do from the command line by integrating Unix with AppleScripts. Let me give you another example so you can see how we can actually talk to an application and have it return data to us that we can then work within Unix. Let's take a look at another sample script that I've included in the exercise files. You can control the address book, so control_address_book.scpt. And there is another very simple script.
It says tell the application Address Book create an empty list called emailList, then count the people that are in the address book, and then for each one of them go through and get the value of that person's email and put it into the emailList and at the end return that item to us. So let's try it. So osascript control_address_book. You can see that it opens up, then it comes back and it gives me a list of all the email addresses that are in there. Now this is data, this is data that we can use, so we can take that and we can pipe it into something.
Let's pipe that into seed. We have a comma-delimited list, but I want to take out the space that is right there. That should do it. So now it's a comma-delimited list without that extra space. Now let's take that and let's put that through tr. Tell that comma it should turn into a line return. Now it's at each line and now let's take that and pipe it into sort and finally let's go ahead for good measure and put it through uniq. And then if we wanted at the end of that we could pipe that then into a file and we would have an export, a dump, of all of the email addresses that were in there.
Now we could get more creative about the kinds of things that we pull out by using a script. Maybe you want to pull everyone's address out or you want to pull the first name and the last name. The idea here is to show you that you can tell these applications to send data back to you that you can then work within Unix. You can put on your clipboard. You can send it to another script that will then send it to another application. There is almost no limit to what you can do here, because now you've the ability to use AppleScript not just to work in Unix, but actually control programs and have them do your bidding.
Now if you are a hard-core AppleScript user, I also just want to mention that there is one other command in Unix that maybe useful, which is called osacompile and that will actually compile scripts for you as well. So for most of you, osascript will be enough just be able to run scripts, but for some people you may want to make use of the osacompile command as well.
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