New Intermediate Online AutoHotkey Course for Novices from “The Automator”

A New Udemy Course “Intermediate Autohotkey—Getting Past the Basics” from Joe Glines—Autohotkey Automation Guru

Not everyone learns in the same manner. Some of the best programmers I know taught themselves from scratch. They looked up the commands and figured out the rest themselves. They learn more advanced techniques by reviewing code written by other aficionados. While they do seek help for advanced topics, they don’t usually need beginning books or introductory courses. But, most people don’t fit into that category.

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AutoHotkey Tips of the Week: The ComObjCreate() Function for Web Page Downloads, E-Mail, and Text Audio

While AutoHotkey Directly Supports Most Windows Features, the Flexibility of the ComObjCreate() Function Adds More Useful Capabilities—Especially for Capturing Web Data, Sending E-mail, and Reading Text Out-Loud

A number of my scripts use the ComObjCreate() function in various forms. Most of them I copied from the AutoHotkey Forums and modified for my own purposes. In this blog, I highlight the ComObjCreate() applications I use most, then offer a list of other forms of the function you may find useful.

How I Use ComObjCreate()

Synonym Page
The SynonymLookup.ahk script pulls replacement terms for the highlighted word “Page” from the Web.

While AutoHotkey supports many of these features in one form or another, directly accessing the COM (Component Object Model) might provide a solution you can get by no other method. I use the ComObjCreate() function in three ways:

  1. Collect data from Web pages (ComObjCreate(“WinHttp.WinHttpRequest.5.1”)).
  2. Send e-mail directly from an AutoHotkey script (ComObjCreate(“CDO.Message”))—no mail program required.
  3. Use the computer voice to read text (ComObjCreate(“SAPI.SpVoice”)).

While I haven’t found much additional information about the ComObjCreate() function posted on the new AutoHotkey forum, the old forum contains a useful COM Object reference list. You don’t need to know how they work—just how to use them. Continue reading

AutoHotkey Tip of the Week: Use Regular Expressions (RegEx) to Convert Repetitious AutoHotkey Code

Regular Expressions (RegEx) Can Simplify a Tedious Code Reformatting Problem

Recently, I received the following comment from Thom:

Greetings,

A small improvement to the Autocorrect AHK script. I have been using this script for years and find it very useful. I was always a bit intrigued about the section of ambiguous entries which was commented out and not much use.

I was fascinated to read about your TextMenu function [found in the book Beginning AutoHotkey Hotstrings] to display the various choices. I found a simple way with RegEx to change all the entries in the section.

For example:

::electon::election, electron

To:

::electon::
  TextMenu("election, electron")
Return

I copied and pasted the list into Notepad++ and then ran this find-and-replace.

Find:

(::\w+::)(.+)

Replace:

$1\n TextMenu\(\"$2\"\)\nReturn

And presto it works—some entries need tweaking but it works well. Continue reading

Use the Ternary Operator to Create Conditional Case Statements or Switches (AutoHotkey Tip)

While AutoHotkey Does Not Include a Conditional Case Statement, You Can Build Your Own Using the Ternary Operator

Many programming languages include Case statements which act in a manner to similar a series of If…Else If…Else statements in an abbreviated form. The simplicity of the structure provides the primary benefit of offering a series of options in semi-list form Continue reading

Comparing Today’s AutoHotkey Version 1.1 and the Future Version 2.0 (Part 1—Everything Functions)

As We Await the Ultimate Release of AutoHotkey V2.0, Let’s Look at How Things Will Change

As I review the documentation for the alpha version of AutoHotkey V2.0, I can see that 95% of the code in a V1.1 script needs to change to run under the new version. AutoHotkey V2.0 offers a more consistent scripting environment, but you will experience a slight learning curve. Standard Hotstrings offer the only syntax which continues untouched. (Hotkey syntax also stays intact but you will need to update the commands within any Hotkey routines.) That means your AutoCorrect script will likely run fine under both versions of AutoHotkey—unless your Hotstrings execute custom actions.

To get ahead of the curve and give you a chance to make better-informed decisions about ever upgrading to V2.0 (once released), I offer this series of observations comparing V2.0 with V1.1. Digging into V2.0 requires a slightly different way of thinking yet it remains all AutoHotkey. You’ll find the overall script structure and how AutoHotkey processes a file unchanged. Any understanding you already possess about how AutoHotkey works will serve you well. In these blogs, I focus on converting from a language running with commands to one which uses corresponding functions.

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AutoHotkey Version 2.0—Should I Wait for It?

ComputorEdge E-Books

As Signs of the Impending Release of AutoHotkey V2.0 Crop Up in the Online Documentation, Questions Arise About Our Legacy Scripts

I start by admitting that I have no special insight into AutoHotkey V2.0. I’ve had no contact with anyone who has the answers. I base all my thoughts on information freely available in the online documentation, forums, and other AutoHotkey sources. You might consider my words rank speculation—although drawn from my years of working with AutoHotkey V1.1. Since I written so many AutoHotkey books, you could even say that I hold a vested interest in the current version of AutoHotkey. In spite of all that, I offer this blog as an aid to current and future AutoHotkey users in their version decisions.

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More Windows Program Automation with the WinMenuSelectItem Command…Maybe (AutoHotkey Tip)

A while back I wrote a series of articles on using AutoHotkey for Windows program automation. They appeared in the old ComputorEdge Magazine. I used Windows 10 Paint as the example program demonstrating a number of approaches to program control. I temporarily put the articles in a makeshift PDF for artists and intend to include them in a future book—along with a couple of other unpublished Windows program automation articles.  I extracted some of those columns from the original ComputorEdge issues and combined them into one free PDF download: AutoHotkey for Artist.pdf. The links may be obsolete, but the info is still good!

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The Main Window for Debugging AutoHotkey Scripts

How to View the Inner Workings and Hidden Mechanisms of Running AutoHotkey Scripts

AutoHotkey includes a tool called the Main Window which aids with the debugging process. It gives you a peek into various aspects of a running .ahk script:

  1. Most recently executed lines of code (ListLines command).
  2. Current variables and values (ListVars command).
  3. Active Hotkeys (ListHotkeys command).
  4. Keyboard activity (KeyHistory command).

Main Window Menu

Open the Main Window by right-clicking on Windows System Tray icon of an active .ahk script and selecting Open from the top of the menu. The window pops open at the “Lines most recently executed” view. You can select the other three views plus “Refresh” from the View menu. Continue reading

More E-Book Bundles for Beginning and Intermediate AutoHotkey Users

New E-Book Bundles for Making Your Journey into AutoHotkey Scripting Easier

JacksLibraryBookDeal250Every programmer suffers moments where he or she achieves a breakthrough and the code actually works. Their first impulse—tell someone…anyone. “Look what I just did!” Alas, they find no one nearby to praise the accomplishment. At least, no one who either understands or cares about their success. Maybe that’s why I write about my AutoHotkey journeys. I need to tell someone when (ironically?) some code I wrote does what it’s supposed to do. Continue reading

Beginning Tips for Writing AutoHotkey Scripts

Exploring the Existential Mysteries of AutoHotkey Code and How It’s Often Misunderstood

AutoHotkeyInsightsI’ve just published my latest book, Beginning Tips for Writing AutoHotkey Script, which endeavors to clear up some of the mystery surrounding the way AutoHotkey works. You’ll find grasping how AutoHotkey processes AHK scripts a tremendous help. Quite a bit of the confusion encountered by novice AutoHotkey scriptwriters occurs through misunderstandings about the manner in which everything (life, the universe, and AutoHotkey scripts) fits together. I wrote the book with that muddiness in mind. Continue reading