AppleScript is one of the most-powerful Macintosh utilities. Late Night Software’s Script Debugger 2.0.3 makes AppleScript more usable by providing a powerful development environment. However, compatibility issues and price limit its usefulness.
The latest version of Script Debugger adds a troop of features. For example, while the previous version could debug only global variables, Script Debugger 2.0 can also track local variables. You can set break points and watch points, and the program can step into, over, and out of handlers. The included AppleScript-debugger dialect lets you follow scripts outside Script Debugger itself – a requirement for testing CGIs.
The tabbed-palette interface allows easy access to clippings, application dictionaries, open windows, and scripts, and you can rearrange or hide the tabs.
Script Debugger’s primary competitor is the recently released Scripter 2.5 from Main Event Software (www.mainevent.com). The two programs are identically priced and fairly comparable, although each has its vocal proponents. However, when Main Event released its latest upgrade, it also released a light version of Scripter – the $89 Scripter Personal Edition. If you haven’t yet ventured into AppleScript’s depths, you can dangle your feet in the water with Scripter Personal Edition.
Also unlike the competition, Script Debugger is itself scriptable, which enables it to interact with utilities and allows its scripts to change themselves.
But these new features are not without flaws. You can’t use Script Debugger to script Microsoft Word 98 or Excel 98, nor can you use it to debug AppleScript inside Digital Technology’s FaceSpan, a script-creation utility.
If you own Script Debugger 1.x, this is a must-have upgrade. But if you’ve never scripted before, Script Debugger 2.0 may be overkill. Main Event Software’s Scripter Personal Edition offers an easier, cheaper way to get started.