Any user familiar with AppleScript, Python, or Ruby can write their own scripts and add new features to GEDitCOM II. Besides writing your own scripts, you can check the GEDitCOM II scripts page for ready-made scripts you can download and use immediately. If you do write a script that you would like to share with GEDitCOM II users through the scripts page, please submit your script to
Writing scripts requires some ability for computer programming and some knowledge of Apple Scripting, Python scripting, or Ruby scripting (which ever language you prefer). If you have programmed, but never used Apple Script, Python, or Ruby, it is an easy to get started. The basic structures of these languages are simple. It takes a little more effort, however, to understand the finer points of each one. A good way to learn all the tricks is to see sample code. These tutorials provide sample code specifically for writing scripts for GEDitCOM II.
If you are new to scripting and deciding between Apple Script, Python, and Ruby, the clear choice is Python. This language has many options and GEDitCOM II (version 1.6, build 2 or newer) comes with a Python module for GEDitCOM II that turns the scripting process into a fairly robust genealogy programming platform.
Here are some references for learning AppleScript, Python, or Ruby:
You can edit and run Python or Ruby scripts right in the GEDitCOM Editor. In fact, to modify and existing script, select it from the GEDitCOM II menu while holding down the option key. The script will open for editing in the GEDitCOM Editor. To learn or use AppleScript, you write scripts using Apple's "Script Editor", which you will find in your Applications folder on all new Macs. You can write, compile, and run scripts all within the "Script Editor".
All applications that are scriptable (like GEDitCOM II) come with a "Dictionary" that describes all the objects in the application and all the commands supported by the application. Whenever writing scripts for a new application, the first thing you need to do is open its "Dictionary" and explore its scripting options. These "Dictionaries" are notoriously too brief. When the information is incomplete, you might need to experiment to see what works. Once you get some things working for an application, the "Dictionary" will start to make sense. You can open any application's "Dictionary" by using the "Script Editor". Choose the "Open Dictionary..." menu command and select an application from the list of those with dictionaries.
You can open GEDitCOM II's "Dictionary" in the "Script Editor" to see all its options. To get more important information, you should also refer to the "Scripting Features" section of the GEDitCOM II help information (from the "Help" menu). It gives extra details on objects in GEDitCOM II's "Dictionary," particularly on the supported commands. It also gives details on changes that are needed when writing Python or Ruby scripts instead of Apple Scripts (the dictionaries are written for Apple Scripts).
The following are the scripting tutorials. These tutorials assume you a familiar with the choosen scripting language and are familiar with scripting "Dictionaries" for applications. You can download the scripts in the tutorials and run them in GEDitCOM II them while reading the tutorials.
lifelines.pymodules that can be download (along with documentation and sample scripts) from the tutorial.