I’m a big believer in user automation. Not everyone is a programmer, but most of us perform repetitive tasks on our devices that can be eliminated by a judicious application of automation. Whether it’s a task that’s so specific that it only applies to one person, or a task that bridges a bunch of different apps and services that just aren’t focused on working together, automation can make our devices do the work so that we don’t have to.
For years, Apple has been a leader in user automation. AppleScript was an early attempt to demystify scripting for a lay audience; Automator was sold as an easy building-block interface for performing tasks; and Shortcuts on iOS brought a modern sensibility to Automator’s premise.
The problem is that today, everything about user automation on Apple’s platforms is fractured. On the Mac, the technologies feel old-fashioned, adrift, and increasingly unsupported. On iOS, Shortcuts has some weaknesses and an every-app-for-itself mindset prevails. And between the two platforms there’s no connectivity at all.
This has to change.
Great piece by Jason Snell, getting into how AppleScript laid down the framework of what Shortcuts can do over on iOS, and how badly macOS needs to have Shortcuts come to that platform.
As someone who makes regular use of Shortcuts (in fact, many posts on this site were generated with Shortcuts), I could not agree more.