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Behind the Curtain: Scripting in Creative Suite

Chapter Description

In this sample chapter, author Rick Ralston describes the benefits of scripting in Adobe's Creative Suite, describes the scripting tools and how to use them, and takes you through a simple script to get you started.

Give It a Go

I'm no scripting expert, and you don't have to be one either. We don't need to be Jedi masters to say we script. Start out slowly; try some simple scripts; and see what you can do. If your interests or needs take you further, more power to you.

Here are three things you can do to learn more:

  • Rip off any script not nailed down. No kidding. First look on the Creative Suite Resources and Extras discs for some starter scripts. Then look on the Web. Read some of the articles that occasionally pop up in magazines, and buy a book or two (see the Resources appendix for some suggestions). Copy and paste with a vengeance. Adobe's scripting reference documents, which should have come with your software but are also available online, are actually very good sources of information and scripts. Check out the Web sites listed in the next paragraph for additional scripts.
  • Ask for help. Web sites, such as http://macscripter.net, javascript.internet.com, and http://visualbasicscript.com, have forums where you can post your questions. People are generally nice and want to help, but don't let the occasional insensitive reply bother you (nobody knows it all, even those who act as if they do). Read the frequently asked questions section first and then skim the posts to make sure your question hasn't already been answered; then be specific in what you're asking and mindful of people's time.
  • Play. There are very few times in adult life when playing is encouraged, so take advantage of this one. Mess around with scripts. Try to do something weird or even wrong. Treat scripting as if it will give you clues to a mystery. If this does that, then what will this other thing do? Every time you solve a mystery, you get closer to understanding what scripting can do. Try out some scripts for applications you like other than Creative Suite, like iTunes.

One last piece of advice: As people help you and you learn more, try to give back to the community by helping others who aren't as far along as you are. The real teaching and learning comes from the interaction of people helping each other.