Batching Everything All at Once
The brilliant thing about Automator is that you can create workflows that perform multiple steps all at once. Now, it has to be said that while this does indeed speed things up, the trade-off is that you lose control over what is happening. You cannot undo a workflow, for example, so it’s always important to send copies of the original files (instead of the originals) to your Automator standalone application. More critically, there are some settings in Automator that can’t be controlled beyond being set on or off. Converting a file from one format to another, for example, doesn’t take advantage of the various options available to each particular format. So if a file is automatically converted into a JPEG image, you can’t set the level of compression.
Be that as it may, the advantage of being able to dump batches of files onto Automator standalone application icons and let your Mac process them quickly and efficiently isn’t to be underestimated. By combining different "blocks" together you can create quite complex workflows. In the example shown here, three different applications are being called into action.
First the Finder is used to duplicate a graphic. Preview then scales the image, applies a ColorSync profile, and then changes the image format to JPEG. The file is then handed back to the Finder, in which blank spaces in the name are replaced by underscore characters, and the entire name is converted to lowercase letters. The third application is Fetch, an FTP client, which takes the file and uploads it to a specified server.
Figure 8 Automator can handle many repetitive real-world tasks, such as processing and uploading images to web sites, quite well.