Maccast Members 2011.04.18 - Intro to Automator
V What is Automator?
V A tool to create workflows (processes) to automate repetitive tasks
* For example resizing and renaming a folder full of images
V Think of it like cooking
* Start with ingredients, the things that you are going to process into a finished product (input)
* The Automator workflow is the recipe a sequence of steps you will process the ingredients with in series to get a result. (chop, cook, etc)
* Result, the finished food ready to be enjoyed.
V Automator is powerful and designed to be easy to use. It can do a lot, but not everything
* Has built-in actions and 3rd party apps and developers can add in additional functionality
* AppleScript is also available for more advanced automation
V Automator Application
* Automator is part OS X and you'll find it in your Applications folder (Applications-->Automator).
V Launching Automator for the first time:
V Brings up a new workflow with the 'Starting Points' panel displayed
* Workflow: This is the raw Automator file format and will create a file that will open with the Automator application.
* Application: This creates a stand alone app. Supports drag and drop input
* The rest create plug-ins (Service, Folder Action, Print plug-in, iCal Alarm, Image Capture)
* Can also open and existing .wflow document.
V Actions, the individual steps in the workflow
* Take input and then some provide results (output) to feed to the next action
* Most also have settings and parameters that you can configure.
V Left column is the Action Library
* Organized by categories
* Can also search
V Info panel below the library
* Provides a description of the action
* What it expects as input and results
V Creating a workflow
* Drag an action from the library to theWorkflow panel on the right
* If it has configurable options you should see the options
* At the bottom of an action there are tabs (Results, Option, Description)
V RSS to Audio File
V Internet Action: Get Specified URLs
* Add the feed URL (you could add multiples)
* Notice the input and output for this action is a URL
V Internet Action: Get Feeds from URLs
* Input: URL
* Result: Passes RSS feed to next action
V Internet: Get Text from Articles
* Input: RSS Articles
* Result: Text, each RSS article as a text file
V Text: Text to Audio file
* Input: Text
V Options:
* Select voice
* Name for files, multiple get incremented with a number suffix
* location, select a folder where the files will be stored
* Result: Files
V Music: Import Files into iTunes
* Input: Music files
* Options: Playlist to add to, can create a new one.
* result: iTunes songs
* That's it.
V You can now save the workflow as an Application.
* When run it will read the feed, extract the text, convert it to audio (AIFF) files , and add it to your iTunes Library as a playlist.
V Just the beginning
V This is a basic starting point, many ways to improve or extend it
* Internet: Filter Articles, could use to add finer control to the text you extract from RSS
* Internet: Get Enclosure URLs from Articles, instead of the Text to Audio, make your own Podcatcher
* Add 3rd party action to convert audio file to MP3 instead or AIFF (default).