20.5. Multiple-Word Terms
Many terms, especially commands in scripting additions, consist of multiple words . An example frequently used in this book is display dialog. You might think that such a term would present extra challenges for resolution, but in actual fact just the opposite appears to be the case; multiple-word terms are a good thing:
Though I don't know the details, a natural explanation of AppleScript's success in resolving multiple-word terms would be that it tries the longest possible combinations of words first.
A multiple-word property name can be a little troublesome. The most commonly encountered example is text item delimiters (Chapter 16). Here's what happens when you use this term in a tell block targeting a scriptable application:
tell application "Finder" get text item delimiters -- error: Finder got an error: Can't get text item delimiters end tell
In that code, AppleScript successfully resolves text item delimiters as the 'txdl' property, but then it makes a mistake: it sends an Apple event to the Finder, asking for this property. The Finder has no 'txdl' property, so it returns an error. The usual workaround is to add my or AppleScript's:
tell application "Finder" get my text item delimiters -- fine end tell
But no Apple event is sent to the Finder in the case of a one-word global property:
tell application "Finder" get space end tell
I believe this is the same behavior discussed in "No Terminology Clash," earlier in this chapter: space is a name already in scope, and we don't say this is the Finder's space, so it is assumed to be our space (meaning AppleScript's space). Evidently this rule breaks down with multiple-word properties. Fortunately, multiple-word properties that you might be tempted to use unqualified (without saying of something) are very rareindeed, text item delimiters is probably the only one.