Too Much Planning Can Get in the Way of Good Scripting (AutoHotkey Quick Reference Part Five)

While Preplanning Script Writing Can Be Useful, Don’t Take It Too Seriously—Sometimes It Only Makes Sense to Rewrite Everything

The AutoHotkey script writing process rarely runs in a straight line. Often I start with a vague concept of what I want to do then start fiddling with the tools. Unlike when building a toolshed or bookcase, I rarely begin with a complete plan or blueprint for an AutoHotkey script. In fact, the code may undergo numerous changes during the debugging and problem-solving phases.

sarcastictweetsFor anyone who builds things, this approach may be disconcerting. Afterall, you can’t afford to build a house by trial-and-error. The cost of wasted materials would be prohibitive. Traditionally, we spend a great deal of time in the planning phase to make sure we avoid expensive mistakes. Even in computer programming, large projects come together much better after extensive planning. But with smaller projects such as AutoHotkey scripts the opposite may be true. I often start a script with only a vague idea of what I want to do. As I work on it, the possibilities expand and I often change course. Continue reading

Why AutoHotkey for Writers, Bloggers, and Editors?

If You Write or Edit For a Living (or Fun) and Use a Windows Computer (Most People Do), Then You Should Use the Free AutoHotkey Software

I’m starting this series I call “Why AutoHotkey?” to illustrate the many reasons for Windows users to install and learn AutoHotkey.

Since I spend most of my time writing, it only makes sense that I start off with why wordsmiths should use AutoHotkey on their Windows computers. There exists a ton of tools for bloggers and editors which include built-in spell checkers and grammar checkers. AutoHotkey does not replace any of these but rather augments them with those extras which add an edge when writing. Best of all AutoHotkey works anywhere and everywhere on a Windows computer. Continue reading

Ryan’s RegEx Tester for Building INI Data Files (AutoHotkey Quick Reference Script, Part Five)

Sometimes It’s Quicker and Easier to Use Ryan RegEx Tester Rather Than Writing an AutoHotkey Script

I used Ryan’s RegEx Tester in an earlier blog to create Web links without writing an AutoHotkey script. This time I take advantage of this powerful tool by using it to extract data for insertion into the regexrobotcartoon INI file discussed in the last blog on this topic. The fact that you can paste any text into the top of the RegEx Tester, add a Regular Expression (and a substitution expression for RegExPlace()), then extract the altered text from the bottom pane makes it a unique AutoHotkey app. This capability alone can motivate someone to learn how to write Regular Expressions.

Note: This series of blogs discusses the evolution of the AutoHotkeyQuickRef.ahk script which takes advantage of the hidden index in the AutoHotkey.com Web site.

Continue reading

New AutoHotkey Hotkey Automation Book Available at Amazon

As much as I don’t like feeding the Amazon collective, I had to publish the new AutoHotkey Hotkeys book on the Internet behemoth. I’ve never cared for the heavy handed way that Amazon treats independent authors. However, since they dominate the e-book market, it would be foolish for me to boycott the e-tail giant. Plus, I don’t want to make it more difficult for those people who love their Kindles. Continue reading

Using INI Files for Web Address Letter Case-Sensitivity Problems (AutoHotkey Quick Reference Script, Part Four)

The Wrong Capitalization of Letters in URLs Can Cause Page Access Failure—A Trick for Using an INI File to Solve Case Problems in AutoHotkey

In an effort to take advantage of the hidden index built into the AutoHotkey.com site, I’ve started writing a script I call AutoHotkeyQuickReg.ahk which parses the downloaded pages. The first step involved those searches which downloaded a command page.

AutoHotkey Library Deal
AutoHotkey Library Deal

The original version of the AutoHotkey Quick Reference script pops up a MsgBox which displays the syntax of the command, then offers the option to open the Web page in the default browser. Recently, I added a new feature which parses and displays information about the built-in AutoHotkey variables whenever detecting the “Variables and Expressions” page. However, I had to find a way to deal with the problem of letter case (capitalization) sensitivity. Get it wrong and either the Web page doesn’t come up or the right data won’t load. Continue reading

New Hotkey Book! (AutoHotkey Tips and Tricks)

AutoHotkey Techniques and Best Practices E-Book for Automating Your Windows Computers with Hotkey Combinations—Includes Something for Everyone!

Whether you’re a noobie to AutoHotkey scripts or an advanced programmer, of all my books, AutoHotkey Hotkeys may be the most important for new little-known tricks and useful ideas. It’s not that the other books don’t cover significant features of AutoHotkey, but this book includes some of the most practical tips for adding power to your scripts. I didn’t plan it that way. Continue reading

Regular Expressions (RegEx) for Parsing Text (AutoHotkey Quick Reference Script Part Three)

The RegExReplace() Function Makes It Easy to Extract and Cleanup Text, Plus a Quick-and-Dirty RegEx to Strip All HTML Tags

commandsyntaxLast time, we accessed commands at AutoHotkey.com using its hidden built-in index. Whenever the script downloaded a command page, we identified it by the embedded HTML code <pre class=”Syntax”>. Not only do the <pre class=”Syntax”>…</pre> tags identify the command pages but they surround the proper syntax for that command. Since this easily located HTML format appears in every command page, it can be used to launch a quick reference pop-up window. We only need to parse the command syntax with the RegExReplace() function, then clean up any extraneous HTML tags. Continue reading

AutoHotkey Quick Reference Script (Part Two)

The AutoHotkey.com built-in Index Reappears—Now to Build a Reference Tool!

autohotkeybooks160x600As I ventured in a new direction toward creating AutoHotkey reference scripts, I once again tested the previously discovered hidden AutoHotkey.com index (which had vanished). It re-emerged!

This left me in a quandary. Do I continue in my new direction or take up the original quick reference tool I began building with this AutoHotkey.com secret capability? Since the hidden index offers so much power, I decided to continue on my first course. (The possibility that the feature may disappear again looms over my work, but any Web site can change.) Continue reading

The Problem with Accessing Web Data with AutoHotkey Scripts

The Trouble with Scripts Which Use Web Page Information, Plus AutoHotkey Tools for Downloading Web Page Source Code

While it doesn’t usually happen this fast, AutoHotkey scripts which depend on downloaded Web page data can go bad at any time. Last week, I discovered a clever index in the AutoHotkey site which allowed quick access to commands and other documentation. Now, I find that the site has changed and only a couple of the previous searches work. Continue reading

Build Your Own AutoHotkey Command Reference Tool (An AutoHotkey Secret)

November 1, 2016: Just as I was marching off in another direction, one more check of the AutoHotkey.com site surprised me. The hidden indexing feature discussed in this blog started working again. Go figure! Will it last? Who knows? But for now, this blog is valid again. I’ll now be able to introduce the AutoHotkey Quick Reference tool I had started working on. 

October 26, 2016: I don’t know if it’s temporary or permanent, nor do I know why, but much of the AutoHotkey Web site index capability (if not all) discussed in this blog has been disabled. I don’t know the rationale for the change or if it may return, but it was a great aid to anyone doing AutoHotkey scripting while it lasted. (One week for me from my point of discovery to its disappearance.) Stranger things have happened. Needless to say, I’m back to browser searches for AutoHotkey URLs.

Learn a Hidden AutoHotkey Trick for Quickly Accessing AutoHotkey Online Command Information

Occasionally (completely by accident), I come across surprising, eye-opening tips. In my last blog, I used an AutoHotkey script to access an online thesaurus by merely highlighting robotsecretcartoona word and hitting the assigned Hotkey. I began checking other Web sites for how easily I could run a similar site search. Naturally, since I include links to the Web reference commands in virtually every blog I write, I checked out AutoHotkey.com. In the process, I uncovered a remarkable secret. Continue reading