One of the many, many things I love about OSX is the ability to automate the OS and many of its applications. Until Yosemite this was done either through Automator, a simple, ingenious, but ultimately limited drag and drop app, and AppleScript a weird, readable, but unfathomable scripting language.

AppleScript lets you write statements like;

 tell application "Mail"
activate

AppleScript readable. You instantly understand that the most of what is happening. No coding understanding needed. The problem comes when you try to write something. You can't just write what you want to happen. You have to know the correct verbs. You have to structure the sentence in the correct way. Human language is fuzzy. Code is not, it is precise, concise, and abstract. That's why most code is not readable to people who do not bring with them and understanding of coding. Applescript despite it's readability is not friendly to non-coders or coders.

OSX Yosemite changed all that. It brought support for JavaScript Automation. JavaScript is a C like language, commonly used to do lovely things to webpages. It's has many flaws, but it is precise and concise. The two lines above in JavaScript for Automation would read;

var mail = Application('Mail');
mail.activate();

Less understandable. Less human, but I love it and I am already making use of it. I have a form on a website that, when filled in pings me an email with the form contents. The email looks like this;

Name: Joe Bloggs
Email Address: example@example.com
I am...: a made up person
Post Code: E17
Twitter: @nope
Instagram: nope

I have 130 of these email messages sat in a folder. The client who requested the form sends me an email asking for the details in a spreadsheet. Manually this would be a boring job. With a little automation this is a few clicks. I select the messages I want to put into the sheet, and run the script. Ten seconds later, I have a new spreadsheet. The best thing is, this script can be quickly changed to deal with any set of structured emails.

So, if you have an some understanding of coding, a Mac and a little time, I suggest you give it a try. You can find the script I've been talking about above here. Please feel free to take it, alter it and make it better. Take a look and have fun.

Posted
AuthorJunction Seven

We have just submitted an update to The Chain. It's a small update to be sure, but one that will bring a change that we think you will notice instantly. It relates to how long the App shows you your chain lengths before telling you you're back to zero and that you really should get to work. 

Basically the app is now less harsh. It will give you time to get your chain completed for the day without unceremoniously zeroing your Chain until you have completed your tasks. It's now more motivational friend than Tiger Mum. In testing it really makes us like The Chain even more.

What is particularly great about this update is that it was requested by you, the people who use The Chain! Thank you. Knowing our App as being used and is helping people achieve their goals is why we do this.

Posted
AuthorJunction Seven

This is very exciting. Burn Down is currently making its way though the iOS App Store approval process and should be available for you to download (FOR FREE) very soon.

Burn Down is an app we have been using internally for some time. It lets you record and track your work activity against projects. Prior to Burn Down, recording time on tasks involved horrible spreadsheets and then faffing with badly designed corporate time management systems. Burn Down has made time management easy for us. We hope it will do the same for you too.

Click below for a preview.

Posted
AuthorJunction Seven