Of Scripts and Such

Annika Backstrom
in misc, on 21 November 2003. It is tagged and #Computers.

Where to start? "Scripted Administration." That's been the phrase of the past three months of my life. Mac OS X Scripted Administration, to be more precise. Why? Who? Where?

I'll get to it.

[Reignition Screenshot 1][]

We at ITS set up a lot of computers. Setting up computers takes a long time, especially under Mac OS X. Count on at least half an hour for the OS install from CDs, and at least another hour of setup and updates after that. Multiply this times all the machines that will require an OS upgrade or reinstall in the future, and you've got a lot of man-hours built up. This is where I come in.

Since September, I've been concentrating on an app dubbed "Reignition." Reignition automates much of the setup required by ITS employess, everything from e-mail client configuration to turning on flashing time separators in the menu bar clock. The interface was created in Project Builder (and later, Xcode) using the combination of tools Apple calls AppleScript Studio.

[Reignition Screenshot 2][]

I've included screenshots for some of the more interesting function of the application. All told, I wrote about 3,000 lines of code, the majority in AppleScript. Large portions are written in the Bash scripting language as well. There are some interesting things going on in the backend. I enjoyed getting the printer setup to work, and there's a really superb script that adds applications or files to the Dock from the command line. Also, the interface does niceties like try and autodiscover your name and RIT ID from the currently logged in user account. The app supports authentication to allow administrator-level changes from its scripts.

It's my hope that the code will be released in some fashion in the future. I'd like to see this go beyond the walls of RIT, and I know other people in the department feel the same way. So, that sums up my fall quarter.. Classes, here I come.

[Reignition Screenshot 1]: /media/2003/11/21/reignition-01.png

[Reignition Screenshot 2]: /media/2003/11/21/reignition-02.png