Why doesn't AHK get the respect it deserves?
Maybe calling it AHK will help a little bit. But unless the person realizes AHK can do DllCalls , COM, and build GUIs then they won't get it. Outside of a name change, it will have to be word of mouth based on programs created and problems it helped solved that gets it more respect.
I think that part of the issue is that people don't realize that with it's simplicity of learning and flexibility with DllCalls and COM AHK is factually capable of so much more the is immediately promoted by taking a quick glance at it's forums and what the new person is rapidly capable of doing with it.
What ends up happening with someone learning ahk is that they pick up the syntax and then go from there to actually learning programming in another language.
My basic intro to COM objects with IE gave me the start to learning JS and getting a grasp of the DOM.
Once a person learns AHK they are opening a door that they never knew existed to learning programming. This I think is the real entrance point that should be the word-of-mouth that will gain acceptance on a broader level to the average person wanting to do more with computers and take workflows into a whole new realm of speed and organization.
Another similar language that doesn't have nearly enough respect and recognition is smalltalk.
As far as why AHK doesn't have the respect it deserves, it's probably because people only ever see it as a hotkey tool (I mean it is named auto hotkey), and never really look further into it beyond "I can hold f5 and spam click in my clicker game"
I had no idea that AHK could do 90% of what it can do. I always just thought it was a hotkey tool.
For learning it, I don't know how easy I would say it is. I mean, if I read up on it at all I'd probably change my opinion, but as it stands now the structure of scripts is pretty confusing to me, mainly what parts are ran at which times. Every scripting language I've used starts at the top, and goes to the bottom, then finishes unless stated to finish earlier. In one of my scripts I have three returns, all outside of the methods but it still can run each section and that hurts my head. I'm probably having a harder time because I've only ever learned with languages like Java, C++, Python, etc. which have a common defined structure.
But I am enjoying learning AHK, and now that I'm starting to see what it can do, I'm interested in diving in a little deeper.