capsule review

Fake 1.7.2

At a Glance
  • Celestial Teapot Software Fake 1.7

    Macworld Rating

Editor’s note: The following review is part of Macworld’s GemFest 2011 series. Every day from mid June through July, the Macworld staff will use the Mac Gems blog to briefly cover a favorite free or low-cost program. Visit the Mac Gems homepage for a list of past Mac Gems.

Like Automator, Fake (Mac App Store link) gives AppleScript’s powerful tools a user-friendly graphical interface. But where Automator controls the workings of Mac OS X, Fake lets you script just about anything you do on the Web.

At first glance, Fake looks like a fairly simple WebKit-based browser, with tabs containing graphical previews of each page. From a floating pane, you can drag and drop into a space on the right-hand side of the Fake window, creating a custom workflow to handle various online tasks.

Less than 10 minutes after first launching the program, I’d built a simple workflow to run through a specified number of photos in my Flickr library, download each image at its original size, then move to the next. By holding down the Control key and dragging from workflow actions such as Click HTML Link, I could almost magically connect them to specific items on the Web page. Fake was smart enough to know where in the overall HTML framework of the page each element resided; it never lost track of them, even when moving from page to page.

Novices can easily assemble tasks like this, or workflows to fill out tedious online forms. For power users, Fake can do even more to test online applications, including executing user-specified JavaScript code, calling outside AppleScripts, and working through if/else/then statements. The program’s documentation covers everything you need to get started, but to master these advanced elements, you’ll need your own programming knowhow. Fake workflows can be saved and reopened, but as yet, there’s no way to export them as AppleScripts.

At nearly $30, Fake may be a little pricey for everyday users, unless boring, wrist-numbing tasks make up the bulk of your Web surfing. But its clever idea and smooth execution definitely make Fake a great, time-saving investment for serious Web coders.

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[Nathan Alderman is an extremely lazy writer and copy editor in Alexandria, Va.]

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At a Glance
  • Celestial Teapot Software Fake 1.7

    Macworld Rating
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