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Page 47 of 162

BOOK REVIEWS 46 MacDirectory BOOKS > THE FINEST IN PRINT AND ONLINE REVIEWS BY RIC GETTER AppleScript 1-2-3 Thanks to the efforts of any number of writers, you can find a whole host of books to help learn the basics of AppleScript quickly and easily, even if you need the aid of a ventriloquist. You'll soon be able to whip up a few cool and useful scripts after reading the first few chapters, but at some point, you'll hit "The Roadblock." The Roadblock is one of AppleScript's little quirks that prevent you from proceeding from point "A" to point "B" without a less-than-logical side trip or two. To deal with these, you'll either need to spend a good deal of time camping out in the various AppleScript forums or spend some time with a real AppleScript master and learn the program from the ground up. In this case, the real master is one Sal Soghoian, an upbeat goatee-and-beret type who would seem more at home at a jazz club than in a cubicle. (Actually, as a talented jazz guitarist, he is quite at home in both venues.) His book, co-authored with Bill Cheeseman, founder of the popular AppleScript Sourcebook Web site, offers the most comprehensive training guide to the language available. But if you're totally new to the concept of programming a computer, don't be put off by the book's size and obvious depth. One of its greatest strengths is that it will take you from the point of not knowing how to program at all to understanding how to write programs well. This is even true for those of us who have done a bit of coding in the past, but whose eyes begin to glaze at the mention of terms like "objects," "containers" and "inheritance." The book begins with one of the best explanations of object-oriented programming we've seen and how you can use the Mac's powerful AppleScript dictionary to learn how the parts fit together. The authors often go to great lengths to provide clear, real-world examples to illustrate many of the more abstract concepts. This will be especially valuable if there's a chance that AppleScript may become a stepping stone to less English-like, object- oriented languages like Java and the newer flavors of C. All the example scripts that Soghoian and Cheeseman use are available online once you register your copy of the book on Peachpit's Web site. However, the bulk of the scripts in early chapters are short and easy to enter, providing some practice using Apple's Script Editor and clearly demonstrating the need for accurate typing if you're a beginning programmer. The book touches briefly on scripting commands to the Unix shell and mentions that Apple's development environment, Xcode Tools now supports AppleScript applications. However, neither of these topics is covered in depth (and both could fill a volume of equal size). However, if you want to learn AppleScript and possibly move on to more powerful programming tools later, AppleScript 1-2-3 will give you the best possible foundation. AppleScript 1-2-3 by Sal Solghoian and Bill Cheeseman Peachpit Press ( 879 pages, $49.99 ISBN 978-0-321-14931-2 The Russell Brown Show We realize that most MacDirectory readers come to these pages to learn about the newest and best in print. And you, our faithful readers, will generally assume that either: a) It is bound between to covers, and/or b) It costs money. But sometimes we have to acknowledge that an absolutely great resource comes along that doesn't fall into either of those categories. In this case, that resource is Russell Brown (both the person and the Web site), arguably the best teacher of all things Photoshop. Until the Internet came of age, you had to be fortunate enough to attend one of his presentations in person. But now, with his Russell Brown Show Web site and his numerous episodes on Adobe TV , anyone can take advantage of his years of pushing the envelope of one of Adobe's most complex applications and enjoy his

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