FastScripts 2.5

If you've ever used AppleScript, Apple's scripting language, you probably know that OS X's Script Menu gives you quick access to any scripts located in /Library/Scripts and ~/Library/Scripts. But if running AppleScripts is a regular part of your daily routine, you owe it to yourself to check out Red Sweater Software's , a replacement for Apple's Script Menu that offers a slew of improvements. I ; since then it's gained a number of new features that have made it even more useful.

Like OS X's own Script Menu, FastScripts looks for scripts in their official Mac OS X folders and separates each folder's scripts within the menu. As with the built-in Script Menu, you can quickly open either of the official Scripts folders via a menu command. You can also edit a script, in your editor of choice, by Option-choosing the script; and you can reveal a script in the Finder by Shift-choosing the script.

But unlike OS X's menu, FastScripts supports more than just AppleScripts and Automator workflows--you can also run Perl scripts and shell scripts. And if you'd like to store your scripts elsewhere, you can tweak FastScripts (using a ) to look for scripts in other folders, as well. (I wish you could perform this action from within FastScripts' preferences window instead of having to use Terminal.) You can also give the FastScripts icon a custom color to make it easier to spot among all your other menu-bar icons.

Other unique features include a handy Recent Scripts sub-menu that provides quick access to scripts you've recently used. FastScripts also places user-level scripts and script folders above system-level items, which I find to be more useful than Apple's approach (system-level scripts above user-level scripts); alternatively, FastScripts lets you combine user- and system-level scripts in a single list, rather than separating them within the menu.

FastScripts also handles application-specific scripts better. As with Apple's menu, if you put application-specific scripts inside a folder named for the target application, and place that folder inside /Library/Scripts/Applications or ~/Library/Scripts/Applications (for example, ~/Library/Scripts/Applications/iPhoto for iPhoto-specific scripts), FastScripts will automatically display those scripts at the root level of the Script Menu whenever the target application (iPhoto, using the same example) is the frontmost program, hiding them whenever iPhoto is in the background or isn't running. But Apple's menu places application-specific scripts at the bottom of the menu, even though (again, to use our example) iPhoto-specific scripts are the ones you're most likely to use when iPhoto is active. FastScripts displays application-specific scripts where they belong--at the top of the menu. FastScripts will even create these special application-name folders for you via a simple menu command.

Behind the scenes, FastScripts also offers better performance and less-disruptive script execution. When you run a script or workflow from Apple's Script Menu, you'll often find that OS X switches away from the current application (either to the script itself or to another application called by the script) and never switches back to the original program. FastScripts, on the other hand, attempts to prevent such switching unless it's actually necessary, and switches back to the original application when it can. Why OS X doesn't work this way on its own, I don't know.