State of arbitrary file access and shell command support

Happy new year Adobe! I was wondering if there has been any development in supporting arbitrary file access or running shell commands/subprocesses for enterprise use-cases? Both topics have been brought up and discussed in one way or the other in the past (notably: Run extendscript from uxp). I’d love to know what the status is, if there’s any plans for this year, etc. concerning:

  • Random file access: While sandboxing is an understandable requirement for market place plugins it can be quite an impediment in a (VFX/animation) studio context, where pipeline and automation is key. Having the ability to access files by path without user interaction seems like an important ingredient on the road to adopt UXP (at least in my experience so far). I know there are all sorts of work arounds floating around in the forum, but they remain work arounds and sometimes are impractical, especially if file locations aren not organized under a common root or known a priori. That said, with changes in the manifest permission system and the introduction of the fs module it really seems like we are so close. :sweat_smile: What appears to be missing is the bridge between fs and API functions requiring file/folder entry tokens. For example it’s not clear to me how to use with an arbitrary file path vs. entry (please advice if this has been addressed, I might have missed the corresponding docs).

  • Shell commands: Photoshop is a very important tool in our pipeline. However, for us it’s just one cook in a larger kitchen. To properly integrate it into our pipeline we would love the ability to run shell commands, e.g. in order to run helper apps or move exported Photoshop data to a next pipeline step. I’m aware that running shell scripts might seem somewhat archaic to the rest of the community, however they are a reality in VFX production, where we often can’t afford the time/budget to develop web services or proper app bundles. If there was a solution to support shell commands as a feature that can be enabled via special permission or as an enterprise-only feature that would be fantastic.

Personally I’m quite excited to get these issues out of the way and start adopting UXP, not to get parity with what we currently have implemented in extendScript but to get functionality beyond what was possible in the old world.


Hi there!

@Sujai and @justin2taylor can perhaps help out about the random file access progress.

@pkrishna Please note this shell command use case. Shell commands are used outside of the VFX world as well to do things like launch helper apps locally.

I’ve also seen the request to “call ExtendScript from UXP” elsewhere…

There is a better “shell” solution for UXP coming soon, I don’t believe I’m able to talk about it yet but will post here when I can.

And yes, random file access getting bridged to the application APIs is very important. I’ve brought this up a few times, thank you for also bringing it up.