An AutoHotkey Tale

I recently received the following e-mail from Will Guest. Sharing it might inspire others to take a closer look at AutoHotkey. While Will implemented a serious solution to an expensive problem, you don’t need to work at his level to get tremendous benefit from AutoHotkey. Its simplicity makes it the choice for dealing with many Windows headaches—even for experienced programmers:

Hi, Jack,

I actually have another recent use for AHK, the technique(s) of which I’d gotten from one of your very helpful books. It’s a bit of a long story, but:

I’ve recently come back from almost two years in the Middle East (Abu Dhabi), where I was designing/ engineering/ installing/ and commissioning the AVCN (Audio Video Control Network) systems for a theme park project (Warner Bros. World, the ‘largest interior theme park on Earth’). We had a vendor installing a parkwide control and management system (Virtual Machines with a fault-tolerant Hypervisor) which was deployed on a per-node license basis. All good, but at least 18 of the nodes were all-in-one 7″ touch-panel PCs, which were used to turn On/ Off/ Set levels for the background music and lighting in the Food, Beverage, and Retail venues throughout the park. These touch panels were used about twenty minutes a day — if that much; so having a full license used for these rarely-used nodes was not the best (or fairest) plan. Plus, with the number of users that wanted to monitor the parkwide system, we were being put into a situation of having to buy additional (rarely used) licenses for a fairly large amount of money. Continue reading

The Coming Instant Hotstring Script (AutoHotkey App)

The InstantHotstrings.ahk Script Allows the Creation and Testing of Hotstrings

Library Benefits

January 5, 2019 Update: You can find the InstantHotstrings.ahk script at the ComputorEdge AutoHotkey Free Scripts page.

I started writing the InstantHotstrings.ahk script as a demonstration of the new Hotstring() function. I planned to keep it basic. (See the previous blogs, “Create Instant Hotstrings Using the AutoHotkey Hotstring() Function” and “Using the AutoHotkey Hotstring() Function to Disable/Enable Hotstrings.”) However, as often happens, the script ballooned into much more. While it continues to demonstrate various aspects of the Hotstring() function, it now includes a number of other features worth discussing (e.g GUI DropDownList, adding Hotstring options, saving and loading files).

I plan to post the current version of the app soon, but I don’t feel it’s quite ready. So, in this blog, I review the script’s features which provide topics for my future blogs. Although not my intention, you could call this a teaser of what’s yet-to-come. I should have the script ready for posting next week. I’ll publish a notice here when I’ve added it to the ComputorEdge Free AutoHotkey Scripts page. (I didn’t want you to think that during this holiday period I wasn’t working on something.)

January 5, 2019 Update: You can find the InstantHotstrings.ahk script at the ComputorEdge AutoHotkey Free Scripts page.

In addition to the two blogs mentioned above, I will write a series of pieces about the meat and potatoes in this new app:

  1. Add Hotstring options to the activated Hotstrings and the GUI DropDownBox control.
  2. Discuss the behavior of the various Hotstring options within the Hotstring() function.
  3. Look at considerations when using the X (execute) option in the InstantHotstring.ahk script.
  4. Save temporary Hotstrings to a .ahk file.
  5. Use the FileSelectFile command to save/load Hotstrings.

Continue reading