I was pleased to see the announcement that Novell and Microsoft are collaborating on the User Interface Automation (UIA) stuff. My mom can use all the help she can get. But as I discussed in Automation and accessibility, beefing up our ability to automate software in a consistent way can give us huge leverage in other areas, like education, training, and collaboration.
In The social scripting continuum I suggested that a system like CoScripter could automate desktop and web applications in a common way. Here’s one way to think of the benefit of doing that. Today, I can share software-related task knowledge in a social manner by creating and posting screencasts. But you can only watch a screencast. If I could instead share that task knowledge in the form of standardized high-level scripts, you wouldn’t need to watch the screencast. Of course, you might want to, for other reasons, but not simply to get the procedural knowledge transferred from my brain and fingers to yours.
Given how popular screencasts have become in three years, I’ve got a hunch that taking things to that next level would be huge. And lord knows I’d love to be able to convey packages of procedural knowledge to my mom that way.