Sad news for the Mac automation community: Sal Soghoian, Product Manager of Automation Technologies since 1997, has left Apple. Details from Soghoian himself:
Q. I hear you no longer work for Apple; is that true?
A. Correct. I joined Apple in January of 1997, almost twenty years ago, because of my profound belief that “the power of the computer should reside in the hands of the one using it.” That credo remains my truth to this day. Recently, I was informed that my position as Product Manager of Automation Technologies was eliminated for business reasons. Consequently, I am no longer employed by Apple Inc. But, I still believe my credo to be as true today as ever.
Soghoian's work on AppleScript and other macOS automation, scripting, and accessibility technologies has always been inspiring – we wouldn't have apps like Workflow today hadn't Soghoian pushed the boundaries of user automation at Apple.
I don't know what this means for automation on macOS going forward, but it doesn't feel like a good sign to me. I love his determination, though:
Q. Are you still upbeat about the future of user automation?
A. Absolutely. The need for user automation is a constant. I've seen the benefits and power of individuals being able to automate critical and repetitive tasks. Solution apps are great, emojis are fun, but there's nothing like really great automation tools. I have faith in this community, and that makes me optimistic about what we can do together.
More than ever before, I'm going to keep an eye on Soghoian's website and future projects.
See also: the transcript of Soghoian's WWDC 2016 session on using macOS dictation to perform specific actions (unfortunately, Apple's session video URL doesn't seem to be working anymore).