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Some of what I missed from the Cmd-D Automation Conference

The CMD-D|Masters of Automation one-day conference in early August would have been right up my alley:

It’ll be a full day of exploring the current state of automation technology on both Apple platforms, sharing ideas and concepts, and showing what’s possible—all with the goal of inspiring and furthering development of your own automation projects.

Fortunately, those of us who missed it can still get a meaty summary of the meeting by listening to the podcast segment Upgrade #154: Masters of Automation – Relay FM. I've been keen on automation for a long time now and was delighted to hear the panelists express their own enthusiasm for customizing their Macs, iPhones, or iPads to make repetitive tasks much easier and less time-consuming.

Noteworthy take-aways from the podcast include:

  • Something that I hear and believe but have yet to experience in person: non-programmers can make use of automation through applications such as Automator — for macOS — and Workflow for iOS. Also mentioned often as tools that are accessible to non-geeks: Hazel and Alfred – Productivity App for Mac OS X.
  • Automation can make the lives of computer users easier but it's not immediately obvious to many people exactly how.
  • To make a lot of headway in automating your workflow, you need a problem that you are motivated to solve.
  • Many people use AppleScript by borrowing from others, just like how many learn HTML and CSS from copying, pasting, and adapting source on the web.
  • Once you get a taste for automation, you will seek out applications that are scriptable and avoid those that are not. My question is how to make it easier for developers to make their applications scriptable without incurring onerous development or maintenance costs?
  • E-book production is an interesting use case for automation.
  • People have built businesses around scripting Photoshop [is there really a large enough market?]
  • OmniGroup's automation model is well worth studying and using.

I hope there will be a conference next year to continue fostering this community of automation enthusists and professionals.

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