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A ScreenFlow-API project

Hey folks,

 

As you may know, I am a very keen programmer/scripter having made numerous applications already to help myself and others out.

 

One of the things that has frustrated me a lot ever since I got used to editing with screen flow was the lack of ability to automate certain tasks (and to do so quickly and efficiently). 

 

So this afternoon I decided to try and launch a little open source project. A ScreenFlow Application Programming Interface (API/Library) which is based off Applescript GUI-Automation. 

 

For all those interested in the project you can visit the GIT-Hub Repository here. Contributors are welcome, whether you want to write functions, make suggestions for functionality. Any contributions are welcome :)

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    • CraigSModerator
    • Telestream Desktop Forum Moderator
    • CraigS
    • 6 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    Very Interesting. Keep us informed of your progress.

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  • According to ScriptEditor, neither ScreenFlow 4, 5 or 6 has an AppleScript dictionary. Would it not be better if Telestream implemented one? Way back in 9/29/2009, CraigS said, "AppleScript support would be very useful. We've had other requests for this so I added your request to the wish list."

    Failing that, there are Automator actions. There used to be two of them as follows:

    1. Start ScreenFlow Recording
    2. Stop ScreenFlow Recording

    I can no longer find the copies I had nor can I source a download. 

    Wouldn't creating a few good Automator actions be more effective and efficient? Of course, Telestream could publish its own API as do many other software vendors.

    It may well be that Telestream simply isn't interested in providing automation options or even facilitating third party solutions. Your approach is very innovative but unnecessarily difficult. 

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    • CraigSModerator
    • Telestream Desktop Forum Moderator
    • CraigS
    • 6 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    If you've previously filled out a feature request and have a case number please do follow up and ask for a status update. The developers consider the number of requests when setting development priorities. You may want to explain in detail your scripting needs so they can understand the importance. If you haven't filled out the request form, please do (and any others reading this request).

    ScreenFlow Feature Request Form

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  • Frank Lowney Are you sure that you're missing the ScreenFlow recording Automator actions? These actions are available for me...

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  • Rory Maloney That's my error. I was looking at the file system where there are three locations where Automator actions may  be found as follows:

    • /System/Library/Automator - This is where Apple puts all of the standard actions that come with OS X, such as actions for Calendar, Mail, and Safari.
    • /Library/Automator - Here, you may find some non-embedded third-party actions. The Microsoft Office actions, for example, are installed here. Actions in this folder are available to all user accounts on your Mac.
    • ~/Library/Automator - If you double-click action files you've downloaded or choose File > Import Actions... in Automator, the actions are installed here automatically. These actions are available to you, but not to other users on your Mac.

    They weren't there and my Automator Library was sorted by category instead of by application. Thus, I didn't see ScreenFlow listed.

    What I had forgotten is that there is a fourth repository of Automator actions, the apps themselves. These three actions are embedded in ScreenFlow. In Automator, do View > Arrange Actions by > Application and then "ScreenFlow" becomes visible and these three actions are the only ones listed when it is clicked on. 

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  • @CraigS I submitted my Feature Request on this page. Just noticed that my link is different from the one you posted. 

    Is one read and the other not? 

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    • CraigSModerator
    • Telestream Desktop Forum Moderator
    • CraigS
    • 6 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    Filling it out in either thread is OK.

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  • A further note on ScreenFlow Automator actions. I used the configure/start/stop actions when they first came out to solve the problem of capturing the ScreenFlow launch, configuration and startup for tutorials on using ScreenFlow. Back then, these actions worked. Today, they do not.

    Here's a description of my tests:

    I created two Automator workflow documents, the first using the Configure ScreenFlow action and the StartScreenFlow action, the second using the StopScreenFlow action. Running these workflows in sequence results in a file being written to the Desktop with the name recording0.scc, recording1.scc and so on.

    I ran four different tests as follows:

    1. Ran the start workflow, launched ScreenFlow, invoked recording and then ran the stop workflow.
    2. Ran the start workflow while ScreenFlow was already running, invoked recording and then ran the stop workflow.
    3. Ran the start workflow while ScreenFlow was already running, moved a few Finder windows around and then ran the stop workflow.
    4. Ran the start workflow while ScreenFlow was NOT running, moved a few Finder windows around and then ran the stop workflow.

    Results:

    Tests 1-3 created *.scc files that opened in ScreenFlow but had NO content.

    Test 4 created an *.scc file that contained the expected recording but the Configure window was left open.

    Discussion:

    It is apparent that one can no longer have more than one instance of ScreenFlow running. It's background or foreground but not both. This is probably an Apple requirement but it does preclude recording ScreenFlow startup, configuration, countdown and so on. This is not a big deal since I can use QuickTime to record full screen while ScreenFlow is launching etc. and then bring that video into ScreenFlow's Media Library.

    However, there are lots of other tasks for which these Automator actions might be useful. For example, one could create a Service that could be invoked from any app that started a recording and another Service to stop. This would enable very rapid recording of a wide variety of events over any period of time. With a little AppleScript one could develop a workable DVR scheme that would run a recording workflow at a specific time and then stop it at another. 

    For those interested in pursuing automation opportunities further, check out this web site.

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    • sancarn
    • sancarn
    • 6 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    > "Wouldn't creating a few good Automator actions be more effective and efficient? Of course, Telestream could publish its own API as do many other software vendors."

     

    That was never my intention. I cannot say that >I< have all the solutions to all the problems that people have. Hence the point of the API. The API is more so there as a tool to aid people in building their own solutions. Whenever I am programming I always try to rip apart an application to it's most fundemental and general parts. In this scenario, the UI-Elements. Applescript is already a (horrible but...) decent programming language/starting point. And there is no doubt it could even be bridged to Javascript...

     

    In the end, the API will allow for the creation of tools that you describe. I have wanted to make tools myself for many years (more so as application specific services though). I've even looked into SIMBL (I wouldn't recommend it though...). It would of course be great if Telestream could implement their own solution but from my own experience the best way to show the usefulness of a full API, is to demonstrate the usefulness of a hodgepodge API.

     

    MacOSXAutomation is a good starting point to learn why you should use  automation, but honestly the best place to start is to start coding in AppleScript (or if you're not a programmer and prefer simple interfaces, use Keyboard Maestro). {Side note: If you want to get started with programming on Mac, seriously, learn Objective-C. Otherwise after learning traditional programming languages you will despise Obj-C...} Granted also, to really see the power of automation try out automating Windows OS - when you get the chance. Windows OS is such a powerful automation platform. It's too bad that, for that reason, it is also more insecure...

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    • CraigSModerator
    • Telestream Desktop Forum Moderator
    • CraigS
    • 5 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    Thanks for that update.

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