AppleScript Folder Action to auto-trim folder

[UPDATE] This does not work as expected. Doesn’t seem to run as a plain AppleScript and when re-worked into an Automator folder action workflow (word salad anyone?) it might work… It has and it also hasn’t. But, even when it has I have the sneaking suspicion iCloud does not propagate deletes from macOS. Wouldn’t be the only inexplicable behavior from that service.

I have a security camera that FTPs a new folder everyday into a local iCloud folder on my home server. FYI, the real location of your iCloud Drive is within ~/Library/Mobile Documents, which is a package folder.

This storage process has not proved ideal since iCloud doesn’t handle automation very well. It works with Finder windows and Save dialogs, but background processes not so much. The result for me has been constant reminders that my iCloud drive is “full” despite deleting the bulk of folders. Most of the space never comes back and many times folders just “deleted” reappear.

Maybe adding another automated process to this soup is not going to help and may make things worse (will bird even notice when items are removed this way?), but what the hell. This script will delete files oldest first until the number of items it counted when it was called reaches the “keep” count (set to “5” here).

This may be attached to any folder, but be aware that it does not send files to the Trash. They are removed with rm.


-- Number of items to keep.
property keep : 5

-- Number of seconds until the script may run again (incase of runaway process adding to folder).
property cycle : 10

-- plist to store time last run.
property the_dom : "applescript.folderaction.trimfolder"
property the_key : "epoch"
property the_val : (do shell script "date '+%s'")

on adding folder items to this_folder after receiving added_items
end adding folder items to

on run
  set this_folder to choose folder
end run

on do_it(this_folder)
  if my read_array(the_dom, the_key, the_val, cycle) is true then return
  do shell script "defaults write " & the_dom & " " & the_key & " " & quoted form of the_val
  tell application "Finder"
    set _items to items of this_folder
    set _items to (sort _items by creation date)
  end tell
  if (count of _items) is greater than keep then
      repeat until (count of _items) is equal to keep
        do shell script "rm -R " & quoted form of POSIX path of (item 1 of _items as alias) -- Will bird sync when using 'rm'?? :/
        set _items to rest of _items
      end repeat
    on error theErr number theNum
      if theNum is not -128 then display dialog theErr giving up after 60
    end try
  end if
end do_it

on read_array(the_dom, the_key, the_val, cycle)
    set last_run to (do shell script "defaults read " & the_dom & " " & the_key)
  on error -- Will error if there is nothing to read.
    return false
  end try
  if the_val - last_run is less than cycle then
    return true
    return false
  end if
end read_array

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