Automator Actions 1.1

What’s new in 1.1

The 1.1 release of the iView MediaPro Automator Actions adds quite a few new actions and tweaks a few from the 1.0 release.

The actions that are new for the 1.1 release are as follows:

  • Get Specified iView MediaPro Catalog
  • Rebuild iView MediaPro Items
  • Save iView MediaPro Catalog
  • Set Categories For iView MediaPro Items
  • Set Event Date For iView MediaPro Items
  • Set Keywords For iView MediaPro Items
  • Set Orientation For iView MediaPro Items
  • Set People For iView MediaPro Items

The actions that were tweaked and extended for 1.1 are:

  • Get Selected iView MediaPro Items
  • Import Files To iView MediaPro Catalog
  • Set Annotations For iView MediaPro Items

As usual, you can download the 1.1 release of iView MediaPro Automator Actions from the Software page.

What follows is an overview of the new actions in the package, some details on the newly changed actions and some hints for workflows.

Get Selected iView MediaPro Items

This action returns a list of the items that are selected in the catalog specified. The change from the 1.0 release is that you can now specify either the front catalog or a specific catalog. This allows the action to be used for a variety of catalogs without requiring prompting.

Import Files To iView MediaPro Catalog

Not everyone wants to import files to an existing catalog. In the 1.1 release, you can specify that the action creates a new catalog to import the files into. You can now also set an option to check for duplicate files during the import. With this option set, if the action finds that a file is already in the catalog, it won’t be imported. This is useful if you import over and over again from the same directory to pick up new additions. The duplicate check isn’t particularly smart but it works for the majority of cases.

Set Annotations For iView MediaPro Items

In the 1.1 release, there’s a new configuration panel called “Options”. It’s not a fabulous name for the panel but it contains a couple of new controls.

There’s an option now to set the product annotation field. This can be set from either the EXIF model information for an image file or to a manually entered string. This is useful if you want to use the product annotation to show the camera model used to take the image.

The other new setting is a little more involved. There’s an option now to control when the annotation fields are overwritten. The default mode is to always overwrite annotations for a media item. However, if you select the “only when existing annotation is empty” setting, the fields will only be overwritten if they’re blank. This can be used for setting default information for annotations where no information is currently entered.

Get Specified iView MediaPro Catalog

This action returns either the specified catalog or the front catalog. This action is useful for provind input to the “Save Catalog” action or, via the supplied conversion action, for allowing all the items in a catalog to be specified as input to the next action. This feature is covered in the “Conversion Actions” section at the bottom of this page.

Rebuild iView MediaPro Items

This action performs the rebuild operation for the media items supplied as an input. The only option is to allow the rotation of the thumbnails to be reset. This action is probably most useful for folks who want to change the thumbnails to a new size. Sadly, iView MediaPro doesn’t allow the thumbnail size to be set via Applescript so you’ll still have the set the size manually.

Save iView MediaPro Catalog

This does pretty much what you’d expect. It saves the specified catalog to disk. I was asked for this action by a few people but I’d advocate being very careful when using it. The last thing you want is a workflow that trashes something by mistake and then saves the catalog. Especially if you’re not the sort of person to be particularly regular about backing up catalogs.

Set Categories For iView MediaPro Items

This action simply sets the category annotation for the supplied media items. The only option is whether to replace the current categories (if they exist) or append to them. If you want to set several category entries at a time, you can enter them as a comma separated list (e.g. category1, category2, category3).

Set Event Date For iView MediaPro Items

This action allows the IPTC event date annotation to be set. It can be set automatically from the EXIF date information in the file or from the date information available via the Finder. If neither of those options give the right date and time information then there’s a manual option available too.

Set Keywords For iView MediaPro Items

This simple action allows keywords to be specified for the input media items. The keywords can be a comma separated list (to allow multiple keywords) and the usual append/replace option is present. In a future release, I hope to integrate the iView MediaPro keyword file information into the action.

Set Orientation For iView MediaPro Items

This action sets the orientation of the image, which can be useful if your camera doesn’t have a rotation sensor to tag the images with the correct rotational sense.

Set People For iView MediaPro Items

This simple action is similar to the category and keyword actions and allows the people annotation to be specified for the input media items. The list of people can be comma separated and, once again, the usual append/replace option is present.

Conversion Actions

One of the less well-documented aspects of Automator for most users is the mechanism that Automator uses to allow actions that have different input and output types to talk to each other. The actions used to do the type conversions are, unsurprisingly, called “Conversion Actions”. These actions are given the file extension of “.caction” and aren’t visible on the Automator user interface.

The iView MediaPro Automator Action package currently provides two type conversions. One of them is used to convert between iView MediaPro media items and files. This allows actions that produce lists of iView MediaPro media items as output to drive actions that expect a list of files as an input. It’s this type conversion that’s used in the PDF Contact Sheet example.

The other type conversion currently available is between iView MediaPro catalogs and media items. If you connect an action with an iView MediaPro catalog as an output to an action that expects media items as input, then Automator will use the catalog to item convertor to connect them. This convertor takes the specified catalog and produces a list of every media item in that catalog as an output.

This can be a very useful approach if you want to write workflows that operate on every item in a catalog without having to manually select all the items first.

For example, this workflow will rebuild every item in the front catalog when run.

Any time you see a difference between input and output types between actions that are successfully connected (i.e. no red warning text) then a conversion action is being used. It’s always worth paying attention when this happens to make sure that the conversion is doing what you expect it to.

One Response to “Automator Actions 1.1”

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