Scripting and IPC

The ability to handle macros, or scripts, is a powerful feature for any application. Whenever a user has a repetitive, well-defined job to do with application software, scripts allow him to automate.

For example, many communications programs allow the user to set up a macro that will dial the phone number of a host system, log into it, check for messages and download those messages for later reading. The macro allows the user to do automatically what is usually done interactively.

ARexx provides Amiga users with a standard macro language.

Benefits of ARexx

Unfortunately, if every application vendor creates his own macro language, the user will have to learn several macro languages instead of just one. Also, each developer would have to spend time creating a new macro language.

ARexx is based on REXX, variants of which are used across many platforms.

With ARexx in place as a system-level macro language, there exists a consistent syntax and user interface for all applications. Part of the reason it can do this is its versatility. Although ARexx is an interpreted language with its own set of keywords, these keywords can be extended to include new words specific to your application.

ARexx has another role, too. It is the system module that allows allication software from different vendors to inter-operate, share data and communicate with one another in a multitasking environment. For instance, with ARexx a communications package could be set up to download data from a financial bulletin board and pass the data to a separate spreadsheet application for further analysis.

When told about ARexx, most people imagine its use by power users - but the benefits of ARexx aren't strictly limited to power users. In a corporate environment, an information manager could take off-the-shelf software, throw in a mix of macros, batch commands and IPC, and come up with a system that truly meets the needs of his office. Once set up, the new, customized program could be used even by novices.

Value-added resellers can use ARexx to design a custom front end that melds applications from different vendors. The result is a highly-specialized tool and an instant niche market for the application vendor.

ARexx is like an open door on your application. Supporting it leaves the user free to combine your program with others - as a result, buyers of your program could end up using it in ways you never imagined.