Section 4.4. Object-likeness

4.4. Object-likeness

In many computer languages, values are things that you talk about. In AppleScript, values are things that you talk to. The following is a legal way (though no one in his right mind would actually talk like this) to add 4 and 5 in AppleScript:

 tell 4     get it + 5 end tell

The use of tell (we are addressing the number 4), get (we are ordering the number 4 about), and it (which means "whoever I am now addressing") shows the nature of the idiom. To be sure, one can (and will) add 4 and 5 by saying something much simpler:

 4 + 5

Yet this second way of talking works only because, behind the scenes, AppleScript is supplying the tell and the get for you, to make your life simpler. In AppleScript, whether you know it or not, you are always talking to some value and telling it to do something.

One might therefore suppose that AppleScript is an object-oriented language and that all values in AppleScript are objects. Perhaps, one thinks, AppleScript will turn out to be like Smalltalk, where "everything is an object." AppleScript also has certain values that are explicitly called "objects," and refers to the datatypes of all values as "classes." Plus, in a couple of areas AppleScript implements a kind of "inheritance" between one object (or class) and another. All of these things add to the impression that AppleScript might be object-oriented. Plus, Apple's own documentation states flatly that it is.

Nonetheless, I remain skeptical. I don't think AppleScript is really object-oriented or even object-based. I've come to think of AppleScript as merely having values with certain object-like aspects. Perhaps the reason for the object-likeness of AppleScript's values has something to do with the fact that AppleScript is all about sending messages (Apple events) to scriptable applications (see "Apple Events" in Chapter 3). Having devised a syntax for representing this message-sending architecture in an English-like way, AppleScript's inventors seem to have generalized this syntax to pervade the language.

AppleScript. The Definitive Guide
AppleScript: The Definitive Guide, 2nd Edition
ISBN: 0596102119
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 267
Authors: Matt Neuburg

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