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Script Debugger 5: Dictionary Redesign Prototype

I have been plugging away at a redesign of the Script Debugger 5 dictionary window, and by extension the value viewer that appears throughout the Script Debugger user interface.

The focus of the redesign is to remove the need for multiple windows unless you want them, to simplify navigation between dictionaries and through large dictionaries/object models, and to take better advantage of wide-screen displays. I’ve also tried to modernize Script Debugger’s appearance and make the presentation of dictionary information more consistent.

Rather than say too much more I’ll leave you to check out the screencast and just say that this is a very rough cut at what may or may not appear in Script Debugger 5. All icons are placeholders, etc, etc.

Best viewed full-screen at 720p

I realize that you may not be able to say too much without being able to actually use the software, but I’m very interested in feedback on the changes. In particular, are there obvious omissions/problems? Am I heading in the right direction or is this the wrong thing.


  1. joe c joe c

    I’m not a superheavy SD user, but this looks fantastic. Inheritance has always been an issue without a printed chart handy. And I love the Worksheet idea and hope it stays; I’m constantly running test snippets so that feature would get a lot of use from me.

  2. Philippe Martin Philippe Martin

    First impressions:

    • Wow!

    • I love the new dictionary window! I hope it’s gonna be possible to open several of them at the same time, though, because I do it quite often with the current version. But it seems to be the case from the video, right?

    • I also like the worksheet and I hope it will be in the release. Is it possible to use it while a script is being debugged? That would be great. And it would be awesome to have the running script in the sidebar!

    • I love the new search interface, too! Very nice!

    Can’t wait, now! 🙂

  3. Chris Chris

    I like the dictionary window. But FWIW, I don’t have a widescreen monitor, and I also sometimes need to have multiple windows open of dictionaries. Like the concept of the worksheet, but it stands in the video, hard to tell what the application context might be. Good for the quick n dirty of “does this command work” or “what’s the result of…” In the dictionary list of known applications, it would be nice to be able to still manually manage that a bit. For example, some apps I just don’t ever script, and don’t need them in my list cluttering it up, or moving my more used apps to the bottom or off screen. And of course sometimes some things aren’t always reloaded or recognized as scriptable, it would be nice to have a “load” button, to either force load, or find out ta-Da! it’s not scriptable in the first place. Question- why does the view do the cascading display of values? Does it save time or memory to not get all properties and values at the outset?

  4. Larry Larry

    Very nice rebuild of the GUI. I spend most of my AppleScript development time in SD dictionary windows, and this will definitely help.

    Hope the Worksheet can make its (re)debut. How about instead of a window with pseudo app browser interface (looks like sub-classing of the new dictionary), you have the Worksheet window without the left sidebar. Then, from anywhere appropriate within any Dictionary window, the user control-clicks an app/object reference and chooses “New Worksheet Context” and the Worksheet pops up and adds new disclosure triangle bar with the context’s reference as its title. The bar’s triangle is open with a text area below to type test code.

    Result is generated below whenever text is entered or the title bar is clicked, or a refresh button on the bar is clicked. Each context bar could have an app icon, and a launch indicator if the app will be launched on refresh. Other buttons could include delete, duplicate and paste (code-only or context and code). Each bar could be dragged into any vertical order in the window (lazy grouping).

    Maybe ‘parent containers’ can be added for further grouping of context bars, and the containers’ name can be chosen via a sub-menu in the contextual menu. Two clicks and… Bam! Your context is saved and organized and ready for test code.

    Maybe previous Worksheet context bars/code are saved. Saved over SD quit would be great, too.

    This way, the Worksheet, with context, is always two clicks away from wherever you are in the dictionary. Sure beats drilling down and copy/pasting into a one-off script.

    Maybe add to contextual menu in script editor window, too. Grabs current context and moves it over to new context bar in Worksheet.

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