Apples Automator Allows Workflow Shortcuts

A new feature in Mac OS 10.4, Automator enables creative pros to build workflow shortcuts in a drag-and-drop environment without writing any code.

Chuck Sholdt, vice president of weather services at Weather Central Inc., credits Apple Computers scripting language AppleScript for making his job—supplying daily weather maps to some of the largest newspapers in the country—feasible.

"I wouldnt be in the newspaper business if it werent for AppleScript. We bought Weather Central 11 years ago this March. Back then we needed nine people for our 13 daily clients. Today we use seven people for our 160 clients every day, putting out 200 pages of content," Sholdt said.

Sholdts statement would seem hyperbolic if it werent for the fact that so many in the publishing industry depend on AppleScript to streamline their workflows. In Sholdts case, AppleScript takes the one national map that the graphic artist at Weather Central draws each day and personalizes it to fit a given newspapers layout and design standards.

The map "goes out to the network, opens a clients template—either Quark or InDesign—finds and loads files and graphics, handles typesetting changes, style-sheet creation, charts, colors, icons and other presets. On the front end we are adjusting and [working with] 575,000 files every 24 hours, [including] National Weather Service Maps, pollen levels, ski reports, tides, national, regional and local maps, five-day forecasts and so forth," Sholdt said.