AppleScriptObjC Release Notes



AppleScriptObjC is a new framework in OS X v10.6 that allows Cocoa applications to be written in AppleScript. Using AppleScriptObjC, your AppleScript code can work with any Cocoa framework, and can function as a first-class citizen in the Cocoa world.

This note covers the syntactical details of using AppleScriptObjC and accessing Cocoa functionality from AppleScript. To write a complete application, you will need to learn Cocoa itself, and should start with the Cocoa Fundamentals Guide.

AppleScriptObjC obsoletes AppleScript Studio, which is deprecated as of OS X v10.6. Developers using AppleScript Studio should migrate to AppleScriptObjC, and should start new projects using AppleScriptObjC exclusively. AppleScript Studio development is still supported, but functions for creating new projects have been removed, and the AppleScript Studio palette in Interface Builder has been hidden. To re-enable it, use this command in Terminal, and then re-launch Interface Builder:

defaults write IBEnableAppleScriptStudioSupport -bool YES

Objective-C/AppleScript Quick Translation Guide

AppleScriptObjC lets AppleScript objects serve as Objective-C objects in the Cocoa runtime, so development using AppleScriptObjC follows Objective-C and Cocoa patterns. This table is a quick reference to the AppleScript equivalents for various Objective-C features, shown as a definition of an ersatz class with the Objective-C version on the left and the AppleScript version on the right.



@interface MyClass : NSObject {

script MyClass

   property parent: class "NSObject"

   int myProperty;

   IBOutlet NSTextField *myField;


IBOutlet @property (retain) NSButton *myButton;

   property myProperty: 0

   property myField: missing value

   property myButton: missing value


@implementation MyClass


- (IBAction) myAction:(id) object {

   on myAction_(object)

   [object method];

   [object method:param];

   [object methodWithArg1:p1 arg2:p2];

      object's method()

      object's method_(param)

      object's methodWithArg1_arg2_(p1, p2)

   [object property];;

      object's property()

      object's property



   end myAction_

end script


AppleScript distinguishes between application identifiers, which are terms defined by AppleScript or an application’s scripting interface, and user identifiers, which are terms defined by the script writer. In the AppleScript Editor preferences, these are referred to as “application keywords” and “variables and subroutine names”, respectively. Identifiers passed to AppleScriptObjC, in particular Cocoa method names, must be user identifiers. If an identifier would conflict with an existing application identifier (or even an AppleScript reserved word), you can force it to be considered a user identifier by escaping it with vertical bars.

For example, NSColor has a set method for setting the current drawing color, but set is also an AppleScript reserved word for assigning variables. Using set as a handler name without escaping it would be a syntax error, so the correct usage looks something like this:

tell myColor to |set|()

Similarly, NSWindow has a bounds property, but bounds is also an application-defined term, so to use it as the NSWindow, it must be escaped:

get myWindow's |bounds|

When in doubt, add the vertical bars: if they are not necessary, then they are merely redundant and harmless.

Classes and Constants

Classes are treated as by-name elements, and constants and enumerated values as properties, both of current application. Observe the use of NSView, NSColor, and NSCalibratedRGBColorSpace in this example:

script MyView
   property parent: class "NSView"
   on drawRect_(rect)
       set c to current application's class "NSColor"'s whiteColor()
       c's colorUsingColorSpaceName_(current application's NSCalibratedRGBColorSpace)
   end drawRect_
end script

In places where current application is the implicit container, such as in the parent property or at the top level of the script, it may be shortened to my, or in the case of class specifiers omitted entirely. (In the handler body, the implicit container is the script object’s parent, class "NSView", so the current application's must be explicit.) This allows a convenience technique to save typing: define properties at the top level of the script, and then refer to the properties in the handler, like this:

property NSColor: class "NSColor"
property NSCalibratedRGBColorSpace: my NSCalibratedRGBColorSpace
script MyView
   property parent: class "NSView"
   on drawRect_(rect)
       set c to NSColor's whiteColor()
       c's colorUsingColorSpaceName_(NSCalibratedRGBColorSpace)
   end drawRect_
end script