I open folders with the Base Elements plugin script step "OpenFile" function such as: BE_OpenFile ( "/Users/taylorsharpe/Desktop/" ) Of course it also does all the other file manipulations like listing files/folders, deleting, copying, etc. The plugin is free from Goya and you can download it at http://www.goya.com.au/baseelements/plugin. I just have my start up script install it on client machines that don't have the plugin. The big disadvantage is it doesn't work with FileMaker Go.
Since you're working on Apple Script, you probalby are only using Macs. If so, you could use the Brian Dunning Custom Function to open the folder: http://www.briandunning.com/cf/97
Thank you for the suggestions. I couldn't use Base Elements because I do not know the entire folder name, only the first word. BUT, the custom function uses the "do shell script" applescript command that spured me into thinking I could use unix commands. They are much faster than straight Applescript. Problem solved.
Base Elements (and many other FM file plugins) supports folder and file listings and could loop through and test against first words of each folder. They also can rename the folders and/or files.... or delete... or copy them. I've done a lot of file manipuplations wiht FileMaker file plugins. One of my favorites is recurssively listing all files to create an index which I used to have to do of CD's and DVDs that we sent out.
You are correct that unix commands can be very fast. The only limitation is that with FileMaker, they only work on a Mac. But if you are only using Macs, then I'm sure it'll be a great solution that is much faster.