Shortcuts in Limbo

I’ve enjoyed some recent posts from John Voorhees and Jason Snell about expanding Shortcuts on the Mac using AppleScript and the terminal. However, I still am having trouble getting consistent and reliable automation with Shortcuts on the Mac. The product still feels a lot like a beta in that some parts of it just don’t work as advertised. This is troublesome for a few reasons.

First, I worry that folks eager to try Shortcuts for Mac are going to get frustrated when the creation process fails them. (For example, I spent 10 minutes fighting with Shortcuts this morning to set a variable.) Once new users get a Shortcut built, there is no guaranty it will perform correctly given the current state of things. To make this worse, there is very little in the way of error reporting. A lot of times the Shortcut will fail with no feedback whatsoever to the user so you don’t know if you made a mistake in constructing it, or if the feature you called is just broken.

Second, I’m trying to build a Shortcuts for Mac Field Guide, but many of the lessons I want to teach are in a holding pattern until particular bugs get fixed.

Put simply, Shortcuts for Mac is in limbo right now. The good news is that it is improving a lot in the betas and every sign we can see from the outside points to the fact that the Shortcuts Team is aware of these issues and working on them. I suspect it’s one of those things where they just ran out of time and couldn’t get it entirely in shape before Monterey was released.

Hopefully, this limbo period is short-lived.