Sorting Subroutine


I don't remember where I originally found this one, but it's a great little subroutine to do an alphabetical sort on a list! For example, I use this in my Evernote scripts whenever a user needs to pick from a list of their notebooks. By doing a simple sort of the notebook names, I think it's easier for people to find what they're looking for more rapidly. As a tip to newer AppleScripters, here's the way you can use this:
  • If you have a list of items you'd like to sort, you can cut-and-paste this subroutine to the end of your AppleScript;
  • When it's time to sort the list, just send the data through the sorting subroutine. Let's just say our list is contained in a variable called "my_list"... One way to run it through the sorting subroutine would look like this: set sorted_list to my simple_sort(my_list)
  • The result? A new variable named sorted_list is created which has your list items in alphabetical order!

The Code

on simple_sort(my_list)
    set the index_list to {}
    set the sorted_list to {}
    repeat (the number of items in my_list) times
        set the low_item to ""
        repeat with i from 1 to (number of items in my_list)
            if i is not in the index_list then
                set this_item to item i of my_list as text
                if the low_item is "" then
                    set the low_item to this_item
                    set the low_item_index to i
                else if this_item comes before the low_item then
                    set the low_item to this_item
                    set the low_item_index to i
                end if
            end if
        end repeat
        set the end of sorted_list to the low_item
        set the end of the index_list to the low_item_index
    end repeat
    return the sorted_list
end simple_sort