As someone who has quickly adopted JavaScript for Automation, I was wondering whether questions about the language (both broad and technical) are better suited to Stack Overflow or Ask Different. Instinctively, I assumed Stack Overflow would be a better choice, as it is more geared toward more intensive programming questions. However, the Ask Different FAQ states the following:

We do encourage AppleScript, Automator, and UNIX shell scripting questions

I would take this to mean that JavaScript for Automation is "encouraged" as well, seeing as it is a part of the OS X Automation suite. However, would it be more practical to post such a question on Stack Overflow (i.e., would it be more on topic and receive higher-quality answers)?

2 Answers 2


You are correct - they are intentionally on-topic here.

As a matter of personal opinion, I would like to think that here is the best place to ask if the focus on the OS X / API / SDK side of things. I don't think the pure JS knowledge base here approaches 1/100 of what's on Stack Overflow, so I would steer anyone that just needs help with JavaScript, the dialect / language to ask elsewhere. I think this would be similar to someone asking a Python / pyobjc question. It would work in both places.

It's totally on-topic to ask Apple scripting using javascript here - even if it's pure JS.

It should be totally on-topic to ask the same sort of question at Stack Overflow.

So, like other split situations (here vs Super User) - it really ends up being the preference of the asker as to where they want to receive an answer. As long as questions aren't identically cross-posted, placing one here or elsewhere would be no issue at all.


This is all opinion - the main question I think is where you will get a better/ or quicker answer (as you say practical)

If the question is about the Apple Scripting API or starting a javascript and thus close to Applescript then I think this site might give useful answers. However if the main issue is Javascript syntax or libraries there are many more users on SO.

This does not give a nice clean answer. This is partially historical as Applescript never had many questions on SO, Unix shell scripting tended to be seen more as a SuperUser type of question and automator is mainly a user tool not a development language. So at the time these were all not really covered by SO. However the scripting API and use of Javascript and others e.g. python does blur the issue

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