After Apple terminated his position as Product Manager of Automation Technologies for “business reasons,” Automator and AppleScript evangelist Sal Soghoian is now blogging about automation technologies at MacStories, as first noted by 9to5Mac’s Zac Hall.
In his first post for the publication, Soghoian shares his thoughts on Automator, AppleScript and other automation services versus app extensions. Soghoian spent almost 20 years leading AppleScript, Automator and related technologies at 1 Infinite Loop.
In the post titled “App Extensions Are Not a Replacement for User Automation,” Soghoian argues that users would be better served if Apple decided to combine their engineering resources to form teams that delivered both iOS and macOS versions of apps.
Although iOS and macOS app extensions could be a replacement for the full suite of user automation services in macOS (Apple Event scripting, Automator, Services, the UNIX command line utilities, etc.), Soghoian proposes that Apple think of user automation and app extensions in terms of “AND” instead of “OR.”
To embrace the development of a new cross-platform automation architecture, maybe called “AutomationKit,” that would incorporate the “everyman openness” of User Automation with the focused abilities of developer-created plugins.
App Extensions could become the new macOS System Services, and Automator could save workflows as Extensions with access to the Share Menu and new “non-selection” extension points. And AutomationKit could even include an Apple Event bridge so that it would work with the existing macOS automation tools.
App Extensions could become another type of User Automation. What a concept.
His profound belief is that “the power of the computer should reside in the hands of the one using it.” Even after being informed that his position as Product Manager of Automation Technologies was eliminated for business reasons, Soghoian still believes his credo to be as true today as ever.
“If you have any questions or concerns about the future of user automation, ask Apple,” he said at the time. Apple’s boss of software engineering Craig Federighi responded by saying that his company has “every intent to continue our support for the great automation technologies in macOS”.
While being an Apple employee, Soghoian blogged about automation over at macosxautomation.com. His work is greatly appreciated among the broader Mac community. Consequentially, having him leave the company is a loss for Apple and a major win for MacStories, which is one of my favorite Apple-centric websites.