Using AppleScript to Get User Input

Problem

On Mac OS X, AppleScript makes it easy to add simple graphical interface elements to programs. You want to use AppleScript from a Ruby program.

Solution

Use the AppleScript library, written by John Butler and available as the applescript gem. It lets you talk to AppleScript from Ruby.

Heres a script that uses the AppleScript class to get input through AppleScript. It also shows off the AppleScript.say method, which uses Mac OS Xs text-to-speech capabilities:

	require 
ubygems
	require applescript

	name = AppleScript.gets("Whats your name?")

	AppleScript.puts("Thank you!")

	choice = AppleScript.choose("So which of these is your name?",
	 ["Leonard", "Mike", "Lucas", name])

	if name == choice
	 AppleScript.say "You are right!"
	 picture = AppleScript.choose_file("Find a picture of yourself")

	 if File.exists?(picture)
	 AppleScript.say "Thanks, I will now post it on Flickr for you."
	 # Exercise for the reader: upload the file to Flickr
	 end
	else
	 AppleScript.say "But you just said your name was #{name}!"
	end

Discussion

The AppleScript library is just a simple wrapper around the osascript command-line interface to AppleScript. If you already know AppleScript, you can execute raw AppleScript code with AppleScript.execute:

	script = 	ell application "Finder" to display dialog "Hello World!"  +
	 uttons {"OK"}
	AppleScript.execute(script)

See Also

  • The manpage for osascript, available online at http://developer.apple.com/documentation/Darwin/Reference/ManPages/man1/osascript.1.html


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