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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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

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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Using the Raw Option—Plus a Secret Hotstring Trick (AutoHotkey Tip)

Both Hotkey Modifiers and Special Characters Might Disappear When Used in Regular Text. Usually, You’ll Find the Raw Mode the Easiest Solution for Vanishing Characters. Plus, a Secret AutoHotkey Hotstring Trick!

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When I started working on this blog I thought I would hammer out a simple explanation of when to use the Raw option in AutoHotkey…and to a large degree I do that. However, in the course of testing both the Raw option and the backtick Escape Character, I discovered a secret undocumented feature of Hotstrings. In some special cases, it may come in handy for changing Hotstrings on-the-fly.

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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

Encapsulate AutoHotkey Code for Multi-Script Integration and Portability (Scripting Techniques)

Run Your AutoHotkey Scripts as Standalone Apps or Add Them Unaltered to Master Scripts by Creating Hermetically Sealed Auto-Execute Modules

If you’re anything like me, you’ve written a number of scripts which you use regularly. You can run each app separately assuring that they don’t conflict but that tends to load the Windows System Tray with too many icons—making it a little difficult to track all of them.

Cover 250 BorderOn the other hand, combining the scripts into a single file presents problems of its own. Any script which contains its own auto-execute section must run this part of the code when it first loads. Simply using the #Include directive won’t do the job. Place it in the top of the file and the other script modules, such as Hotkeys, Hotstrings, and Label subroutines, stop the processing of the original auto-execute section. Yet, if you place the #Include at the bottom, AutoHotkey never sees or runs the new auto-execute section. The novice scriptwriter often solves the problem by breaking apart the script and separately adding the auto-execute section to the top of the master file while locating all the other code modules toward the end of the file.

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Using Unique Icons for Specific Windows Shortcuts (AutoHotkey Menu Tip)

Draw Icons for AutoHotkey Menus Directly from Windows Shortcuts

I talked extensively in an earlier blog about adding icons to the menus in the QuickLinks.ahk script by using the FileGetShortcut command. This AutoHotkey command digs out data such as the target program from the shortcut. At the time, I didn’t attempt to use the captured icon data (OutIcon and OutIconNum—icon location and number respectively) because, in most cases, the variables came up blank. Even using the standard context menu creation option (New⇒Shortcut) often did not save the icon data for viewing with GetFileShortcut. Frankly, that would have made the process too easy.

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