A Mac Java Applescript example - how to execute Applescript from Java

Mac OS X Applescript FAQ: How do I execute Applescript code from a Java application?

Note: The solution shown in this article works for Java 6.

The solution for Java 7 or Java 8 is different. For that solution, see my new article, How to execute AppleScript commands from Java 7 on Mac OS X.

If you ever need to run some system-specific code from a Java application on a Mac OS X system, one way to do it is to run Applescript commands from within your Java application.

It's easy to run some Applescript from Java; for a simple example, ignoring exceptions, it just takes three lines of code, like this:

Runtime runtime = Runtime.getRuntime();
String[] args = { "osascript", "-e", "tell app \"iTunes\" to play" };
Process process = runtime.exec(args);

A complete Java Applescript example program

Here's an example of a complete Java Applescript program (a Java program that runs an Applescript command). In this case I'm running the Applescript say command, which uses a synthesizer to speak the text you pass to it (so make sure your speakers are turned on when you try this).

Here's the source code for this Java/Applescript class:

package com.devdaily.mac.applescript;

import java.io.IOException;

public class JavaApplescriptTest
{
  public static void main(String[] args)
  {
    new JavaApplescriptTest();
  }
  
  public JavaApplescriptTest()
  {
    Runtime runtime = Runtime.getRuntime();
    String[] args = { "osascript", "-e", "tell application \"Finder\" to activate" };

    try
    {
      Process process = runtime.exec(args);
    }
    catch (IOException e)
    {
      e.printStackTrace();
    }
  }
}

Other Java/Applescript command examples

Of course there are many other Applescript commands you can run from your Java programs. Here are a few more example Applescript commands you can run, in the Java form shown above:

String[] args = { "osascript", "-e", "tell app \"iTunes\" to play" };
String[] args = { "osascript", "-e", "tell app \"iTunes\" to playpause" };
String[] args = { "osascript", "-e", "say \"Good morning Al.\" using \"Victoria\"" };

Many more Applescript tutorials

I have many more examples of Applescript commands on this blog. Just search here for "applescript", and you'll find quite a few, including this Applescript tutorial about an alarm clock program.

Applescript with Java SE 6

I just read that you can take a different programming approach with Java SE 6 on the Mac OS X platform. This URL from Apple shows the new syntax you can use in Java SE 6, specifically this code:

public static void main(String[] args)
throws Throwable
{
  String script = "say \"Hello from Java\"";
    
  ScriptEngineManager mgr = new ScriptEngineManager();
  ScriptEngine engine = mgr.getEngineByName("AppleScript");
  engine.eval(script);
}

I haven't tested that, as I don't have Java SE 6, but hey, it comes direct from Apple.

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