While Adding the Final Five Percent to an AutoHotkey Script Takes Time, the Results Make It Easy to Understand and Use for Both You and Others
I consider most of my scripts demonstrations of how to implement AutoHotkey possibilities—not completed applications. I rarely go back to do all the little things that will make a script a finished product—in two senses of the word: virtually completed and fine-tuned. Many of my favorites (QuickLinks.ahk, MousePrecise.ahk, SynonymLookup.ahk, AutoCorrect.ahk, ChangeVolume.ahk, etc.) don’t require much additional work—if any—although, a script rarely achieves perfection. Most of my scripts use menus, Hotkeys, or Hotstrings while running in the background—not requiring extra visual bells and whistles. However, once you base an AutoHotkey script on a GUI (Graphical User Interface) pop-up window, the need for additional finishing touches increases—especially if it opens and saves files.
Radically Improving AutoHotkey GUI Apps with Menu Bars June 22, 2020
While GUI Menu Bars Make Your AutoHotkey Apps More User-Friendly, the Benefits from Adding One to Your Script Go Far Beyond the Obvious
One of the best methods for finishing an AutoHotkey GUI app involves adding a menu bar. (You might also argue that the writing of a GUI script should start with a menu bar. It creates a road map to the finished product.) On the surface, a GUI menu bar makes the app more user friendly, but, more importantly, the process forces you to rethink the design and structure of your script.
Most Menu Bars Include Both “Save” and “Save as…” Options in the File Menu—Each Requires Special Considerations
The act of adding a menu bar to a GUI can force the rethinking of many routines in the script. This time the consideration of the Save option(s) compelled me to reconcile potential problems when attempting to run the Save routine in the expected manner. First, knowing the actions activated by the Save Hotstrings button in the InstantHotstring.ahk script provides an understanding of the items required in the GUI menu bar.
Sensing AutoHotkey Editing Changes for Instant Save (Part Three: Finishing AutoHotkey GUI Scripts) July 6, 2020
By Detecting Modifications in Edit Data We Know When to Activate Instant-Save Routines
In the previous blog, I discussed the need to add a special header to a unique type of data file—InstantHotstring generated Hotstrings. This header helps to differentiate between AutoHotkey .ahk files—which you may not want to overwrite—and files generated by the InstantHotstring.ahk script.
When adding a Save option (instant-save using the CTRL+S key combination) to the menu bar, many Windows apps concatenate an asterisk (*) to the file name in the title bar—alerting the user to changes. In this blog, I add a similar change-detecting feature which both displays the appended asterisk and enables an instant-save routine.
Use the GoTo Command to Traverse Long Subroutines (Part Four: Finishing AutoHotkey GUI Scripts) July 13, 2020
Sometimes the GoTo Command Makes Life Easier without Creating Perverse Effects
This next portion of the InstantHotstring.ahk menubar implementation did not go as I had expected. I thought that I would break up the routine launched by the Save Hotstrings button into separate subroutines or functions, then call each as appropriate for the corresponding Save/Append Hotstrings menu items (as seen in the image). I didn’t look forward to it because I knew it could get a little confusing. Some items would require multiple subroutine calls while others would need to just run—depending upon the menu selections made by the user.
I didn’t want to write redundant subroutines, but separating the various features of the complete routine required more than merely adding Return commands to encapsulate the code. I finally ask myself, “Why not insert AutoHotkey Labels into the main Save routine and use the GoTo command to jump my way through the decision points?”
Use Alternative Filename Extensions for Special Format Files (Part Five: Finishing AutoHotkey GUI Scripts) July 20, 2020
While Changing the Saved Filename Extension in the InstantHotstring.ahk Script Helps Protect Original AutoHotkey Files, the Technique Offers Additional Benefits…Plus, a No-Wait Progress Bar for Instant-Saves
Over the course of the past few blogs, I added protection to files containing AutoHotkey code by both including a one-line file header and changing the saved filename extension to .hsf. These steps have resolved my concern about overwriting any AutoHotkey scripts—from which I may have extracted Hotstrings and loaded them into the “under-construction” InstantHotstringMenuBar.ahk app. At times, I thought that adding the two techniques might be overkill but now I’ve come to realize that using an alternative extension provides benefits that may prove even more useful than my initial attempt at protecting .ahk files.
Saving Default Data in the Windows Registry (Part Six: Finishing AutoHotkey GUI Scripts) July 27, 2020
Many AutoHotkey Users Save Settings in an INI File…However, the Windows Registry May Offer More Security and Stability
We tend to feel nervous about working with the Windows Registry. After all, a wrong step could conceivably cause harm to the operating system setup. Yet when taking the appropriate steps, this built-in Windows database can offer us a number of benefits:
- The Windows Registry is always there.
- It’s not easy to accidentally delete a Windows Registry entry.
- The average computer user won’t know where to find these special data entries.
Note: Ironically, I never finished either the script or this series. The unimplemented menu items provide a map of what I had planned. I’m not sure when I might get back to it.
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