Waiting for Web Data to Download (AutoHotkey Quick Tip)

A Look at a Manufactured Looping Technique Using the Goto Command to Ensure the Download of Web Page Source Code in an AutoHotkey Script

EatCheeseBurgerCartoonI ran into a problem with the SynonymLookup.ahk script. On occasion, the menu would appear showing only the original bold and bulleted search term as its sole menu item. This occurred when the script finished processing before downloading the source code from the Thesaurus.com page. As often happens when working on the Internet, the Web connection took a little too long to perform its job.

A common headache with any AutoHotkey script which uses the Web, the time it takes to interact with a site and download its content profoundly fluctuates. In the case of the SynonymLookup.ahk script, I needed to ensure that the variable containing the Web page source code existed and contained text before continuing to parse the synonyms.

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Input Command Creates Temporary Hotstrings from Data Table (AutoHotkey INI File Technique)

By Using an INI Table of Legal Terms, We Construct Instant Hotstrings with the AutoHotkey Input Command

I recently received questions about using AutoHotkey for professional terminology in medical transcription. While features in many word processors such as Microsoft Word allow the building of special auto-correct dictionaries, they only work within Word. Since AutoHotkey works anywhere on a Windows computer, it’s only natural to want your own specialized technical lexicon. However, for the newbie, the question turns into “Where do I start?” Continue reading

Build Your Own Dream Thesaurus Word Replacement Tool (AutoHotkey Web Application)

How to Use the Web to Feed Data to Your AutoHotkey Application—A Pop-up Menu to Replace Boring Words in Your Documents

Synonym Page
I highlight any word and hit the CTRL+L Hotkey combination. AutoHotkey downloads the code from the target Web page and parses the synonyms using RegEx—placing each in a pop-up menu. Click on any item and AutoHotkey replaces the selected word in any document or field open for text editing. In the example, the menu lists possible replacements for the word •PAGE—the first item in the menu. Click •PAGE to open Thesaurus.com at the target location.

I immediately added this short AutoHotkey script to my primary toolbox. It immediately provides me access to a list of alternative words in menu form (shown at right). Click on one of the entries and it instantly replaces the previously highlighted word. The apps beauty lies in the fact that I can utilize the Web for the database of synonyms. The script extracts the menu items directly from a Theraurus.com Web page without opening my Web browser or processing any of the code—no ads. For writers and editors (or anyone who wants to expand their vocabulary), this one script provides enough incentive to plunge into regularly employing the free AutoHotkey Windows utility language.

If Theraurus.com ever notices, I suppose this script may not make the owners of the site very happy. Any revenue they derive comes from the advertising. My app ignores all of it. They could change the formatting of the page, but then I would adjust the Regular Expression I use to extract the data. They might make an attempt to block my efforts, but I guess any such blocking technique would also block regular users. They could block my IP, but that would be a lot of work for just one person. (I would simply switch to another site offering synonyms.) In any case, I plan to continue using this AutoHotkey script until it stops working—for whatever reason. Then, I’ll fix it. Continue reading

Use BoundFunc Object [Func.Bind()] to Pass GUI Control Data (An AutoHotkey GUI Revelation)

Added as a Special Feature to AutoHotkey V1.1, You Can Quickly Bind Unique Data to GUI Controls for Passing to Functions—It’s Even Easier in V2.0. Add This One to Your Bag of AutoHotkey Tricks!

Sometimes in my explorations, I come across an unexpected gem. I dig into many aspects AutoHotkey merely because they exist—having no idea how a technique might affect my scriptwriting. Whenever I uncover a feature that switches on a light, I must admit I get a little excited. Interestingly, if I had not been rummaging through AutoHotkey V2.0, I may not have ever understood the significances of this latest revelation for GUI pop-up windows in V1.1 scripts.

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GraphicSoundsIn a GUI (Graphical User Interface) pop-up window, passing the right data to a gLabel subroutine (or function) from a GUI control can get complicated. A couple of the more common methods includes calling the Gui, Submit command to store control values or using a technique for capturing control information, such as the MouseGetPos command or the special gLabel alternative function:

 CtrlEvent(CtrlHwnd, GuiEvent, EventInfo, ErrLevel:="")

While I can usually find a way to solve the data passing problem, I often find the answer awkward. Continue reading

Write Less Code with Database Driven Apps (AutoHotkey Script Design)

Use Simple Database Files to Both Write AutoHotkey Code and Create Flexible Scripts

GraphicSoundsIn the last blog, I introduced a simple AutoHotkey app I call PictureSounds.ahk. When the user clicks on an image, AutoHotkey seeks the name of the sound file in an INI lookup table, then plays it. The script uses the image file name as the INI file Key. After loading a series of images, the script plays a different sound for each image. (It even plays videos!)

Using the INI file as a lookup table saved me from writing a different subroutine (or at least If condition) for each Picture control in the GUI window. Now, I show how to use that same data file to write the command code lines for adding the images to the pop-up files. Continue reading

Building a Lookup Table with an INI File (AutoHotkey Reference Tip)

In AutoHotkey, You Can Use an INI File as a Database for Relating Lookup Table Items

Admittedly, AutoHotkey lacks sophisticated database tools for storing, sorting, and reporting sets of information. While you can piece together commands to create pretty good database file systems, AutoHotkey does not hold a candle to specialized data handling software packages which use SQL and other high-powered relational tools. However, AutoHotkey does support a simple form of a database called an INI file with built-in commands which make it easy to read and write data. These features give us a method for building a lookup table to relate our AutoHotkey Version 1.1 commands to 2.0 functions references. Continue reading

Preparing for AutoHotkey Version 2.0 (Even If You Don’t Need It)

Many AutoHotkey V1.1 Commands Offer Parallel Functions Which Run in Both V1.1 and V2.0—It Makes Sense to Use Them Now

I recently noticed an evolution in the online AutoHotkey documentation. Over the past number of years, the powers-that-be have added new functions which serve the same purpose as the traditional command. Yet, they have made no particular effort to highlight the significance of those functions. That has changed. Continue reading