Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Do Away with the Scripts Palette?

For the longest time, I've used a workspace that has two columns of palettes down the right side of the screen so I can have the Scripts palette permanently available. Lately, I've been wondering if there isn't a better alternative because the way I have things eats seriously into document space. So the question arises: can I script my way out of the need to have the scripts palette permanently displayed.

I might not have had this thought at all had it not been for Peter Kahrel mentioning that he uses a script to access recent scripts. Apparently, Peter keeps all his scripts in one folder so, in addition to displaying the recently used scripts he can readily display all the others at the bottom of the menu he throws up.

I have a large number of folders holding scripts -- so large a number that assembling them into a menu would be slow and generally pointless in that many of them are just sitting there waiting to be used only for a special occasion. So, the thought I have is this: Let's build a script that uses a couple of special folders to hold information. One will contain what I'll call the permanently available scripts. Some scripts I use enough that I know that I'll always want quick access to them even if they happen to have temporarly dropped off the most recent list, so I'll put these into a folder named "Always" and they'll always be there -- indeed, any that are in this folder will never appear on the most recent list because they'll be permanently available anyway.

A second folder will hold aliases to the most recently used scripts. Also in there will be a preferences file.

My inital thoughts on what the script that manages all this does is this:

1. If the Recent folder doesn't exist, it creates it and throws up the preferences dialog. I have three preferences in mind:

Number of Recent Scripts
Display Script Label of Selection
Display Palette Folders

The meanings of these will become apparent as we look at the reset of the functions.

2. The script will manufacture a dialog that will display a drop-down menu of selectable script names, starting with the Always scripts then the Recent scripts, and optionally (see prefs) the names of all the folders in the Scripts palette (top level only). If the user chooses one of the script names, the script in question will be run. If the user chooses a folder, the script will present another dialog with that folder name in it.

3. If the prefs ask for it and there is a selection, the script label of the selection will be displayed in a static text field -- this is for info only; it is not intended as a mechanism for changing labels. [Hmmm: I might have second thoughts about this -- what if one of the Always available scripts changed the script label. That would do away with the need for the Script Label palette. Maybe.]

And that's where I am at the moment. Now I need to start on some implementation.

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