- Feasible Impossibilities - https://www.impossibilities.com/v4 -

Using Apple Mac OS X Tiger Automator and Bluetooth to Enhance Flash Lite Development

I’ve got a great new method for speeding up the transfer of Flash Lite .swf files to Bluetooth capable devices that I’d like to share, but first some history: A few months ago, I worked on some Applescripts in combination with some Mac OS X Folder Actions to automatically push Flash Lite .swf files to my handsets (a nokia 6600 and a Nokia 6680) whenever I published out a new Flash Lite .swf file for testing. This worked OK, and really got rid of a lot of repetitive monotonous steps. Here is the script [1] if you would like to play with it. I’m not an AppleScript expert by any means, I had cobbled it together as an experiment and used bits and pieces from around the web that I found to get it working or partially working (your mileage may vary). It has a few bugs it looks like as it doesn’t always seem to work properly on subsequent publishes. I had been so busy the last few months working on other projects, that I kind of forgot about it. I had put out the source on a few private mailing lists to see if anyone might pick up the ball and run with it, but no such luck.

Last night, I decided to revisit it. This time I wanted to get it working 100% and to see if I could somehow leverage Apples Automator application [2], which comes with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. Automator makes it very easy to create advanced automated workflows, scripts, plug-ins and Folder Actions to enhance what you could do with Applescript alone. A really great tool overall. As I was digging around, I found this great little Automator add-on called Bluetooth Object Push Automator Action by Marc Schlichte of Framework Labs [3] which is being distributed under a Creative Commons 2.0 license. Perfect! I downloaded it and installed it and then created the following Automator workflow – Push2Device [4] (see this screenshot [5] for the workflow – also make sure you download and install Marc’s Bluetooth Object Push Automator Action before trying to use this).

I then saved this workflow as a Folder Actions plugin (see this screenshot [6] for the save dialog) and bound it to a folder I keep on my desktop. Then, in my .fla file I set my publish location to the folder I bound the Folder Actions and this new workflow Push2Device. Now, whenever I publish out a new .swf file, it automatically gets renamed to have the current time in hours/minutes/seconds embedded in the filename so I have a way to keep track of versions, and then its automatically pushed to my bluetooth device. It couldnt be easier. If you have more than one device you can allow the Automator add-on to prompt you which device, or you could simply have it push to both devices. Having the file name change automatically before its sent to your device is great as its easy to forget which version was the most recent if all the filenames are the same, and its great for comparison being able to switch back and forth between versions rapidly. I’m going to look more into using Automator actions to help my production workflow on other tasks. Besides some simple backup and maintenance tasks I haven’t really tried to leverage Automator that much until last night, I think I’ve just started to get an idea for some very cool time saving things that can be done with it.