Several tutorial sites mention a scripting interface, but I couldn't find it. Turns out its hidden, this page gave clues to where it is:
Go to creative cloud, prefs, turn on 'show older apps'. Restart creative cloud, you'll find Extendscript Toolkit CC. Amusingly you can't launch it from the creative cloud launcher, but it should be available from your Windows start menu.
That same web page says to set After Effects as the target, this is done from the first dropdown in the top left, where it says 'ExtendScript Toolkit CC', change that to 'Adobe After Effects 2022'.
- F5 - run the script ( like ctrl-enter in a wrangle)
- ctrl-shift-c - clear the console
- $.writeln('foo'); - print something to the internal console
Debugging is also frustrating, as there's no console. You can print stuff kindasorta by forcing a fake expression with throw, eg
You'll get an error, when you click in the expression field, the error (ie the thing you want) will be shown in a tooltip. This can't be copypasted though, so if you need to access these values, you need to create a text layer, and have the text expression fetch the thing you want. Frustrating.