42 Astoundingly Useful Scripts and Automations for the Macintosh

Astoundingly scriptable apps

Some of the best apps, which you may already be using, are eminently scriptable.

Jerry Stratton

Inkscape also scriptable with Python—Saturday, August 24th, 2019

Inkscape is an Open Source vector graphics editor. Supported features include shapes, paths, text, markers, clones, alpha blending, transforms, gradients, patterns, and grouping. Inkscape also supports Creative Commons meta-data, node editing, layers, complex path operations, bitmap tracing, text-on-path, flowed text, direct XML editing, and more. It imports formats such as JPEG, PNG, TIFF, and others and exports PNG as well as multiple vector-based formats.”

Another astoundingly useful app on the Macintosh is Inkscape. Inkscape relies on X Windows, so you’ll need XQuartz to run it on your Mac. But once you have it you have a full-featured drawing app that is scriptable using Python.

You can edit the colors on a piece of your drawing and even duplicate pieces of your drawing.

You can target any piece of your drawing in a script by giving it a unique name. With that unique name, you can reference it in one line.

Because Inkscape is based on XML, you can manipulate your drawings pretty much in any way you’d like, and turn those manipulations into a script to use on other drawings.

Scribus, Astounding Scripts, and Python—Saturday, August 17th, 2019

Scribus is a very nice open source page layout application and includes full PDF creation. It is also scriptable using Python if you need to automate page layout tasks. Scribus is very useful for making documents that need to be shared with other editors, since anyone can get the Scribus application unrestricted.

Scribus is not the easiest page layout software in the world, but it does allow for very easy scripting, using Python. For example, {% cross page save-all-scribus-pages-as "a script to save all Scribus pages as EPS files”. The same logic could be used to save them as PDF files, or to save each layer as a PDF file.

I use the latter to print pre-generated characters for the North Texas RPG Convention; each character is in a layer, and the script traverses through each layer, hiding the previous ones and saving the current one as a PDF. Whenever I make a change, I don’t have to reprint nine characters; I run the script and it reprints them.

I used Scribus to create the wraparound cover for 42 Astoundingly Useful Scripts and Automations for the Macintosh. It is both free and useful.

Nisus—Thursday, August 1st, 2019

I use Nisus Writer Pro for almost all of my new documents now. It’s a lot easier to use than the other word processors I’ve tried.

Seriously, Nisus Writer Pro is invaluable if you’ve ever felt like “the computer should be able to do this on its own” while you’re writing. First, Nisus is by far the cleanest and easiest word processor even without the ability to script it. There’s none of the clutter of Word or Open Office.

But add in the amazing scripting engine under the hood, and Nisus is unparalleled. If you can do it by hand, you can automate it.

GraphicConverter—Thursday, August 1st, 2019

“If you haven’t tried GraphicConverter yet, why not give it a spin? It’s one of the most useful products you’ll ever download and one of the best software bargains out there, from one of the most conscientious developers in the shareware universe. There’s really not much more you could ask for.”

Older posts