Getting object information#
To write the scripts, you can use Apple’s Script Editor that comes pre-installed with macOS. However, I’d suggest that you also install a proper code editor with syntax highlighting and online syntax checking. For example, CodeRunner (not free) is very useful as is Visual Studio Code (free).
You can run scripts directly from Script Editor.
Alternatively, you can use the command line tool
that is part of macOS like so
arg1 etc. are simple strings. They are
automatically passed to a function named
run in the
Thirdly, you could run your code from within CodeRunner by
settings, select the “Language” tab and duplicate the entry
the circle with the three dots at the bottom of the language
listing and selecting “Duplicate”. Rename the copy to
change the “Run Command” to
If you want to use Visual Studio Code, there’s an AppleScript and JXA extension available for it.
script and making it executable by
chmod +x script.js in Terminal allows you
to run it directly from the command line with
The very short answer to the debugging question is: you can’t.
The slightly longer answer is: use
The even longer answer is: you can add the line
anywhere in your script to open Safari’s web developer
console with your script and stop at this line. At least in
theory. In practice, I found it worked less often then not.
The longest answer is: debugging JXA scripts does not make
sense beyond the most basic things (like what
console.log() can print). Safari (nor any other app) knows
zilch about applications and their objects. Therefore, the
structure of objects and their content.
As said before, JXA is old and not maintained. The same is true for most of the online resources available. I’ll list the more useful ones here, but don’t expect too much.
- Apple: Release notes for macOS 10.10
- Apple: Release notes for macOS 10.11
- JXA notes by galvanist
- JXA Cookbook Wiki
Occasionally, JXA questions arise on StackExchange and are (sometimes) answered there.