Script Debugger version 6

In each of my articles involving AppleScript here, I have recommended Script Debugger as the tool for scripting. Well, Late Night Software has not just brought out version 6, with a long list of major enhancements, but it has halved the price: yes, Script Debugger now costs a mere $99.99.

For me, highlights of this major new version include:

  • Code signing – once enabled by selecting your developer ID, the script is automatically signed. For those using Script Editor for commercial production, the bundled script resource editor now includes a bundle ID, version string, build number, and more, and can auto-increment the build number on saving.
  • Support for the enhanced progress reporting introduced with AppleScript as from macOS 10.10.
  • Code folding in the editor, much like that in BBEdit.
  • Brilliant autocompletion, which includes AppleScript Objective-C identifiers for the main Cocoa frameworks.
  • Support for Dash, the documentation reference app.
  • A host of debugging improvements, such as non-persistent global variables, ObjC value exploring with native viewers for dates and images. This makes Script Debugger the tool of first choice now for developing AppleScript Objective-C.
  • A neat popover breakpoint editor.

I haven’t had long using version 6 yet, but what I see is rock solid and very impressive.

For the benefit of those who haven’t used Script Editor at all (or recently), here are some screenshots which should give you an idea as to how complete and productive an environment it provides.

scriptdebugger61

Dictionary display is not just functionally excellent, but is a visual pleasure. You can also use the hierarchical structure view of the Object Model, and the Explorer, as you wish.

scriptdebugger62

Debugging regular AppleScript offers every possible facility and feature. There are breakpoints, step commands, full inspection of variables, an event log – everything that you could wish for. Not only that, but these features are easy to use. You don’t have to use Script Editor daily to remember all sorts of arcane controls. It is just as powerful for those, like me, who might spend burst periods scripting, then not do much for several weeks.

scriptdebugger63

Accessing the macOS frameworks using AppleScript Objective-C is not easy in Xcode, and for many AppleScript users is just too difficult. This restricts so much scripting to the limited features which are directly supported – simple, clunky dialogs, primitive interface, and so many things that you just can’t do.

For several years, Shane Stanley has produced his own tools which open up access to AppleScript Objective-C, and he has wonderful documentation and examples too. Script Editor 6 has been co-written by Mark Alldritt and Shane Stanley to make it the most complete environment for such work.

scriptdebugger64

One perennial problem with writing AppleScript is that it is often not as terse as less intelligible languages, so you find yourself writing lots of text. Not only does Script Debugger 6 have many aids to reduce that tedium – and the risk of typos – such as code completion, but it has plenty of quick commands that insert much of the code for you.

If you have been worried that Apple might be about to abandon AppleScript, the developer documentation for macOS Sierra makes it abundantly clear that the two supported scripting languages are AppleScript and JavaScript.

You will see in my articles here how enthusiastic I have been over Script Editor 5. Version 6 is a whole world better, and half the price. Even for the occasional scripter, it is absolutely essential. (And yes, I did pay for my copy.)

Full details, and a free trial download, are here.