17 Replies Latest reply on Dec 17, 2009 8:55 AM by michielvoo

    What's the future of Creative Suite scripting?

    michielvoo Level 1

      Dear Adobe,

       

      looking at some of the presentations from MAX 2009 there is no clear future outlined for scripting in Creative Suite 5+

       

      There are now a multitude of ways to automate CS applications where PatchPanel and SwitchBoard have been the latest developments. I think that with the integration of AIR into Creative Suite applications it will become the main platform for creating and delivering plugins with a user interface (panels, wizards etc).

       

      I have read about something called CSCXInterface, and heard mention of something called Seaside (CSIDE?) but it's hard to find information about this. Are these parts of the AIR integration? Are they included in Flash builder or can they be used stand-alone as well?

       

      And, last but not least, what's the future of ExtendScript, the language as well as the program? Can we expect improvements in the debugger, language support, DOM browser etc?

       

      Thanks!

        • 1. Re: What's the future of Creative Suite scripting?
          Harbs. Level 6

          I don't think you will find any information on CS5 until it exists!

           

          That said, PatchPanel and SwitchBoard do appear to be promising 

          technologies, but I wouldn't build too much on experimental 

          technology. A lot can change between the "Labs" stage, and a true 

          product being developed.

           

          All in all, I don't think ExtendScript is going anywhere soon, and 

          it's probably a safe bet to assume that there will be improvements.

           

          Harbs

          http://www.in-tools.com

          Innovations in Automation

          • 2. Re: What's the future of Creative Suite scripting?
            AdobeScripts Level 3

            I don't think you will find any information on CS5 until it exists!

            Is there any way to get RC or Demo version ? or be a beta tester ?

             

            All in all, I don't think ExtendScript is going anywhere soon, and

            it's probably a safe bet to assume that there will be improvements.

            It would be very silly move if Adobe will cut out whole scripting support

             

            robin

            www.adobescripts.co.uk

            • 3. Re: What's the future of Creative Suite scripting?
              michielvoo Level 1

              Just a few days ago John Nack announced that we will be able to use WebKit in CS5 applications. Two months ago in this presentation the message is that PatchPanel, SwitchBoard and CSXS will never leave Adobe Labs. Around the 6 minute mark they state that:

               

              The idea is that you can do everything from ActionScript [...] you're not gonna have to deal with JavaScript or ExtendScript

               

              The overall message is not very clear. There are now two ECMAScript engines, ExtendScript and Adobe AIR. I also think there are now 4 ways to create a UI in CS applications: C++, ScriptUI, Flex and HTML+CSS (with the support of WebKit).

               

              Don't get me wrong, I think having the choice is good, but without guidance how are we going to make the right decision?

               

              Hello, Adobe?

               

              PS. Here's another fun quote from the same presentation:

               

              A lot of these APIs [...] the documentation is a little bit all over the place [...] hopefully, you know, we're gonna do some, we're gonna try to do something to correct that
              • 4. Re: What's the future of Creative Suite scripting?
                Olav Martin Kvern Level 3

                Robin wrote: "It would be very silly move if Adobe will cut out whole scripting support "

                 

                I'd say it's pretty unlikely.:-)

                 

                Sorry to have been such a stranger around here (heck, it wasn't that long ago that every post was by me)--but it's because I've been working on the very topic of this thread. I don't have much that I can say, except we're working on some very cool things. For now, this has taken me a bit away from InDesign scripting.

                 

                Thanks,

                 

                Ole

                • 5. Re: What's the future of Creative Suite scripting?
                  michielvoo Level 1

                  Olav Martin Kvern wrote:

                   

                  I don't have much that I can say, except we're working on some very cool things.

                   

                  So that's it then? How are we supposed to make a decision based on "very cool things" that Adobe doesn't have much they can say about?

                   

                  Is it better to focus on ActionScript than on ExtendScript? If you don't respond I'll take that as a yes. If you respond with a vague statement (anything) I'll take that as a no

                   

                  Seriously though, thanks for the reply, but it's not helping. It just makes my opening question even more to the point.

                  • 6. Re: What's the future of Creative Suite scripting?
                    Harbs. Level 6

                    I don't think Ole can tell you very much.

                     

                    If I were you, I'd take out of this that regular scripting is here to stay, so you are safe concentrating on that.

                     

                    I'd also take out, that it seems there will be new ways to create automation, but exactly what and how is still not clear, so you invest on focusing on other things at your own risk...

                     

                    Harbs

                    • 7. Re: What's the future of Creative Suite scripting?
                      Steven.. Level 3

                      If you watch the presentation mentioned above, the message is clear. Scripting is not going any time soon. However adobe really wants a Flash/Flex solution for scripting. In Adobe Labs they tried Patch Panel and it was a bust. To quote mnr 'Patch Panel will never leave Labs'.

                       

                      I'm not privy to pre-release info (so I can speculate), but from the presentation it seems that Adobe is working on ActionScript as an additional scripting language, that ties in to the C++ code just like JS, VBS or AS. In patchPanel it was a wrapper to js and very slow, in the future it will boast the same speed advantages as scripting + the ability to create UI in Flex

                       

                      Just a guess

                      • 8. Re: What's the future of Creative Suite scripting?
                        Olav Martin Kvern Level 3

                        michielvoo wrote: "Is it better to focus on ActionScript than on ExtendScript? If you don't respond I'll take that as a yes. If you respond with a vague statement (anything) I'll take that as a no"

                         

                        You can't draw either conclusion from my response or lack of it. Or, you can, but it won't give you a valid basis on which to plan your future.

                         

                        I think it's safe to say that a.) the InDesign scripting model will not change (or won't change much), regardless of the language (after all, we already have the same DOM for three totally different languages), and b.) an investment in JavaScript--whether in the ExtendScript or ActionScript flavor--can't be bad, as you can convert from one to the other with very minor changes. Indeed, you could move code from ExtendScript into a PatchPanel project by simple copy/paste.

                         

                        That's the big deal, in my opinion--learning the DOM takes far longer than learning a new language.

                         

                        Thanks,

                         

                        Ole

                        • 9. Re: What's the future of Creative Suite scripting?
                          michielvoo Level 1

                          Olav Martin Kvern wrote:

                           

                          You can't draw either conclusion from my response or lack of it. Or, you can, but it won't give you a valid basis on which to plan your future.

                          I know, I wasn't being serious...

                           

                          Olav Martin Kvern wrote:

                           

                          I think it's safe to say that a.) the InDesign scripting model will not change (or won't change much), regardless of the language (after all, we already have the same DOM for three totally different languages), and b.) an investment in JavaScript--whether in the ExtendScript or ActionScript flavor--can't be bad, as you can convert from one to the other with very minor changes. Indeed, you could move code from ExtendScript into a PatchPanel project by simple copy/paste.

                           

                          ActionScript can't be converted to ExtendScript in most cases though. What version of JavaScript is ExtendScript in CS5? Will it have some of the newer JavaScript features that we are starting to see in browsers as well?

                           

                          I think I can read between the lines and I can sort of see where it's all going. The most important thing I need to know, if I develop an ExtendScript library, can the methods be called directly from ActionScript, or does it have go through something like ExternalInterface?

                           

                          Thanks!

                          • 10. Re: What's the future of Creative Suite scripting?
                            Olav Martin Kvern Level 3

                            michielvoo wrote: "ActionScript can't be converted to ExtendScript in most cases though. What version of JavaScript is ExtendScript in CS5? Will it have some of the newer JavaScript features that we are starting to see in browsers as well?"

                             

                            I don't understand. The main difference going from ActionScript to ExtendScript is one of adding (from ES to AS) or removing (from AS to ES) type declarations (for variables and for the return types for functions). The larger differences have to do with which libraries and/or DOMs you're working with--most of the new features for JavaScript in browsers are extensions to the browser's DOM.

                             

                            As to the rest--I can't really comment on CS5. ExtendScript does a pretty good job keeping up with the ECMAScript specification, so that might be a good place to look for hints to future development. Note that the 5th edition of ECMAScript has just been approved this month (which is probably a bit late for this release cycle).

                             

                            Thanks,

                             

                            Ole

                            • 11. Re: What's the future of Creative Suite scripting?
                              michielvoo Level 1

                              Olav Martin Kvern wrote:

                               

                              I don't understand. The main difference going from ActionScript to ExtendScript is one of adding (from ES to AS) or removing (from AS to ES) type declarations (for variables and for the return types for functions). The larger differences have to do with which libraries and/or DOMs you're working with--most of the new features for JavaScript in browsers are extensions to the browser's DOM.

                               

                              It's a lot more complicated that that actually (and I hope that the current secret features are not developed based on the assumption that the difference between ExtendScript/JavaScript and ActionScript are this simple).

                               

                              For one, the class-based development model is not supported in ExtendScript (as far as I know from scripting InDesign CS3). So from what I understand there is no support for the class, private, protected, public, namespace keywords. Also, I believe that E4X is not supported in ExtendScript. And when the ActionScript code has any dependency on other libraries (through the import statement) then I think that library is not portable to ExtendScript either.

                               

                              So you see, it's quite a big difference between these two environments. I generally believe that ExtendScript scripts can be ported to ActionScript without much problems, but definitely not the other way around if the ActionScript is in any way using class-based inheritance, E4X or imports libraries.

                               

                              Olav Martin Kvern wrote:

                               

                              ExtendScript does a pretty good job keeping up with the ECMAScript specification...

                               

                              Where can I find information about the supported language features of ExtendScript? In this context, it would be more useful to refer to JavaScript versions (like Acrobat 9 supports JavaScript 1.7)

                               

                              Thanks!

                              • 12. Re: What's the future of Creative Suite scripting?
                                Harbs. Level 6

                                E4X is completely supported in CS4 and partially supported in CS3.

                                 

                                There are no class type keywords in ExtendScript (as there are no true "classes"), but that doesn't mean you can't use inheritance if you want. You would just use Prototype (which is actually something you CAN'T do in ActionScript).

                                 

                                There is no "import" in ExtendScript, but you can use the #include operative (the same way you would in C based languages) to include a library of functions.

                                 

                                The fact of the matter is that you are correct that the programming style in pure Javascript (and by extension ExtendScript) is different than strongly typed languages, but once you get used to it, you'll find that it gives you a lot of freedom you can't get in strongly typed languages. (I'm moving the opposite direction and find ActionScript very stifling...)However, even though the preferred style is different, porting code from ExtendScript is pretty easy, and you'll have a much easier time porting from ExtendScript to ActionScript than the other way around, but it is possible in both directions.

                                 

                                As far as support goes: It supports the full ECMAScript specification (as it's applicable to desktop programs). The OMV in the ESTK has the full DOM including the core Javascript functionality.

                                 

                                Harbs

                                http://www.in-tools.com

                                Innovations in Automation

                                • 13. Re: What's the future of Creative Suite scripting?
                                  michielvoo Level 1

                                  Sure, I understand the difference between the two development models. I just wanted to point out to Ole that there is no easy conversion from ActionScript to ExtendScript.

                                   

                                  I understand the use of #include, but it does not help converting ActionScript code that uses import.

                                   

                                  As far as support goes: It supports the full ECMAScript specification (as it's applicable to desktop programs). The OMV in the ESTK has the full DOM including the core Javascript functionality.

                                   

                                   

                                  What does that mean? What's OMV, and exactly what spec is supported (compared to JavaScript 1.5, 1.6, 1.7 etc)?

                                   

                                  Thanks!

                                  • 14. Re: What's the future of Creative Suite scripting?
                                    Harbs. Level 6

                                    ESTK = ExtendScript Toolkit

                                    OMV = Obect Model Viewer (accessible from the help menu of the ESTK)

                                     

                                    For full information on exactly what ExtendScript implements, you can 

                                    read the pdf files available under the help menu of the ESTK...

                                     

                                    Harbs

                                    http://www.in-tools.com

                                    Innovations in Automation

                                    • 15. Re: What's the future of Creative Suite scripting?
                                      Olav Martin Kvern Level 3

                                      michielvoo wrote: "I just wanted to point out to Ole that there is no easy conversion from ActionScript to ExtendScript."

                                       

                                      We may just have a differing definition of "easy."

                                       

                                      I meant that for the great bulk of the language features, the conversion is relatively easy. That is the basics of the language are very similar--(pseudocode) if...else...else if...end if, for...next, try...catch, and other logic structures are written the same way, properties of objects are specified the same way, method parameters are entered the same way, etc. It's not like the difference between, say, Java and PostScript.

                                       

                                      I can take the body of a script (i.e., the inside of a class) written for InDesign using PatchPanel, paste it into ExtendScript, remove the type specifications, and I'm good to go. In fact, I've done this.

                                       

                                      I guess it's a matter of perspective--I see the languages as about 80% similar. Do you see the 20% difference as an insurmountable obstacle, or do you see it as a fairly trivial matter? Does ActionScript's lack of eval() or ExtendScript's lack of classes make it impossible to work with one or the other, or is it pretty easy to work around the differences? I'm definitely an optimist: the glass is half full, etc. Your mileage may vary.:-)

                                       

                                      Thanks,

                                       

                                      Ole

                                      • 16. Re: What's the future of Creative Suite scripting?
                                        AdobeScripts Level 3

                                        Sorry for off-topic Ole, but could you please check your PMs or e-mail at adobe.com ? thanks

                                        • 17. Re: What's the future of Creative Suite scripting?
                                          michielvoo Level 1

                                          Olav Martin Kvern wrote:

                                           

                                          We may just have a differing definition of "easy."

                                           

                                           

                                          Nope, I think I didn't explain the scope of the development effort I had in mind. I'm talking about possibly developing a library that includes communicating to web services and/or databases. Now that I understand we may have access to the complete Adobe AIR runtime and all namespaces, I think taking a dependency on that is a good decision when compared to developing that in ExtendScript. However, with that dependency, I don't think a conversion to ExtendScript is feasible.

                                           

                                          Unless... ExtendScript gets support for importing these Adobe AIR namespaces. Which doesn't seem likely, because the focus seems to be on keeping the DOM as the common ground.

                                           

                                          Anyway, this has been a great discussion, thanks for all the information Ole and others!

                                           

                                          I have signed up for the prerelease program, it seems like the only way to get actual info, but even then it's still under NDA...