(Geek Alert) MAMP & Automator Tricks

Ok, so I got tired of having to start several apps & processes each time I wanted to start web development, so I decided to look into creating some Automator workflows. If you’re not familiar, Automator is a workflow application included with Mac OS X. It “leverages the power of AppleScript to provide a drag-and-drop workbench for streamlining repetitive tasks.” Although it was fairly easy with my favorite app launcher extraordinaire, Alfred App, the whole process is redundant, & (I’ve recently learned) unnecessary.

I found a good article on About.com that describes how to assembe several apps, & actions into one Automator app: Automate Opening Multiple Applications and Folders. This article was my starting place, but I did run into a couple snags.

First, I wanted start the MAMP app on port 80, which requires the username and password be entered. (click here to find out why I use MAMP) Took me a while, but I found a good solution here: Run MAMP on port 80 without a password – the easy way. The author of this post provided an app for download that would start MAMP without authentication (It requires you to first put your username and password in your keychain) and then close out MAMP (again without the usual authentication) when the app was closed. This solution wasn’t ideal for me because I didn’t want an extra app icon running in my dock and showing up when I command+tab through my open applications. I had already hidden MAMP from the dock (How to hide the MAMP icon from your dock) and so adding another app in its place didn’t appeal to me.

Because of this, I broke the app he provided in half, and created a new Automator app that, when run, would authenticate and open MAMP, and then close itself. Now when i want to close MAMP, I still need to enter the username/password, but usually I leave it running till the next time I shut down the computer, so it’s not an issue for me. That automator app is available here. It’s a zip file and includes a readme.txt file that adds a few more helpful hints/ideas, so check it out.

Another issue I ran into, I use the incredible LiveReload app/chrome browser extension, and it requires me to open terminal, and enter the command to start it. (click here to find out what why I use LiveReload) This Automator script was much easier to find, and I also made it into an app that’s available here.

Finally, I created one more Automator app using the instructions listed in the About.com article I mentioned that launches all of these applictions, workflows, and processes:
– The two apps listed above
– My favorite code editor (Dreamweaver)
– Skype (communication)
– Colloquy (communication)
– Two Finder folders: “Work” and “themes”
– Chrome Browser with two new tabs, one being “http://localhost/”, the default domain used by MAMP

If you’re interested, you can download that Automator app here. Feel free to open it with Automator, and delete the apps/workflows you need and add the ones you want.

I’m extremely pleased with the result. Now, when i’m ready to start developing, I can get all the tools I need with a click of a button. Hope you find this as helpful as I did!