What do you use AHK for?

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Discuss Autohotkey related topics here. Not a place to share code.
PainFoinmr
Posts: 2
Joined: 14 Sep 2020, 08:51

What do you use AHK for?

14 Sep 2020, 09:00

Hello!

I recently got a very mundane task at work that had me repeat ctrl+c, ctrl+v and 2 clicks 700 times. I knew you could get some programs that mimic your inputs back when I still played MMOs lol. So anyway, I got some bad quality programs that ended their free trials after a few hundred actions. Then I stumbled upon AHK. It took me about an hour of tutorial and about another hour of trial and error and some googling to completely automatize this particular task. Now, I'm no programmer but I have done some basic coding back in school and for this particular job I also created a web-scraper in Python which is probably my biggest achievement.
Now my question is, what kind of projects is AHK better for than learning more advanced coding languages like Python? I can definitely see myself using AHK for more tasks because it is easy to use, it doens't have tons of libraries and it doens't have complicated syntax. However, I do feel like Python experience would definitely look better on my resume and would eventually be much more better for my personal use if I learned to program with it.
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boiler
Posts: 5909
Joined: 21 Dec 2014, 02:44

Re: What do you use AHK for?

14 Sep 2020, 10:02

PainFoinmr wrote:
14 Sep 2020, 09:00

Now my question is, what kind of projects is AHK better for than learning more advanced coding languages like Python? I can definitely see myself using AHK for more tasks because it is easy to use, it doens't have tons of libraries and it doens't have complicated syntax. However, I do feel like Python experience would definitely look better on my resume and would eventually be much more better for my personal use if I learned to program with it.
Python is of course more popular and better for your resume than AHK, but what would cause you to characterize it as “more advanced” than AHK?
SOTE
Posts: 1056
Joined: 15 Jun 2015, 06:21

Re: What do you use AHK for?

15 Sep 2020, 01:40

PainFoinmr , I get the impression that you are approaching it as if it must be one or the other, when instead the answer could be use both. In my opinion, when it comes to automation scripting on Windows, AutoHotkey is the clear choice. If instead you are talking about cross-platform general programming, then that's where Python will shine. Though do keep in mind there is a soon to come dark horse in Keysharp (https://www.autohotkey.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=80&t=77248), that can bring AuotHotkey style cross-platform automation scripting into the conversation. So in that context, it might be more appropriate to compare AutoHotkey (including forks and variants), with PyAutoGUI.

Though it's just my opinion, as a general programming language, there are arguably better choices than Python depending on the situation and what you want to do. It could be that JavaScript, Object Pascal, C#, C, C++, Go, Pharo, etc... are the better option. If you are talking about professional RPA/RDA, which would be more aligned to doing automation, then there is UiPath, Automation Anywhere, OpenRPA, etc... AutoHotkey can be integrated with both UiPath and OpenRPA projects. Thought not originally designed for the enterprise level, people might want to have a look at Pulover's Macro Creator https://www.autohotkey.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=63&t=143, in terms of something in the RDA arena and purely in AutoHotkey.

So while Python will definitely look good on a resume, if you are just talking about that angle, its not the only thing that you could put on your resume, make a living from, or use in a business. Outside of a professional software developer context, AutoHotkey is a good Windows OS general purpose programming language for hobbyists or to be used within a business like for an IT department, school, job productivity enhancer, utility app, etc...
PainFoinmr
Posts: 2
Joined: 14 Sep 2020, 08:51

Re: What do you use AHK for?

15 Sep 2020, 04:18

boiler wrote:
14 Sep 2020, 10:02
but what would cause you to characterize it as “more advanced” than AHK?
My opinion is based on first impressions. Python has a lot of libraries like the example I used for web-scraper. It took me way longer to figure out than AHK, but the libraries really helped me get done what I needed. While for AHK - it just seems for smaller and more hobby projects. That's why I asked - what do people use it for.
SOTE wrote: PainFoinmr , I get the impression that you are approaching it as if it must be one or the other, when instead the answer could be use both. In my opinion, when it comes to automation scripting on Windows, AutoHotkey is the clear choice. If instead you are talking about cross-platform general programming, then that's where Python will shine. Though do keep in mind there is a soon to come dark horse in Keysharp (https://www.autohotkey.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=80&t=77248), that can bring AuotHotkey style cross-platform automation scripting into the conversation. So in that context, it might be more appropriate to compare AutoHotkey (including forks and variants), with PyAutoGUI.

Though it's just my opinion, as a general programming language, there are arguably better choices than Python depending on the situation and what you want to do. It could be that JavaScript, Object Pascal, C#, C, C++, Go, Pharo, etc... are the better option. If you are talking about professional RPA/RDA, which would be more aligned to doing automation, then there is UiPath, Automation Anywhere, OpenRPA, etc... AutoHotkey can be integrated with both UiPath and OpenRPA projects.
This is nice to hear. I do admit that AHK is very easy to use and very convenient and I am tempted to stick with it for my 'ctrl+c, ctrl+v, click' tasks in my current job.
But same question goes for you: what do you use AHK for and it looks like you are much more experienced with programming and automatization than I am. So what strengths do you see in AHK?
SOTE
Posts: 1056
Joined: 15 Jun 2015, 06:21

Re: What do you use AHK for?

15 Sep 2020, 05:49

PainFoinmr wrote:
15 Sep 2020, 04:18
This is nice to hear. I do admit that AHK is very easy to use and very convenient and I am tempted to stick with it for my 'ctrl+c, ctrl+v, click' tasks in my current job.
But same question goes for you: what do you use AHK for and it looks like you are much more experienced with programming and automatization than I am. So what strengths do you see in AHK?
The strengths are as I mentioned, automation scripting (it's original purpose), and then general purpose programming on the Windows OS. As AutoHotkey is simple to understand and has a small footprint, it's quite easy to write utility type programs in, and with no more than just notepad versus some monstrosity like Visual Studio.

Utility software also covers a wide range. Clipboard manager, backup programs, system monitoring, OCR, etc... And this is not to dismiss writing all sorts of small applications in AutoHotkey as well, as such programs like Pulover's Macro Creator, AHK Studio, AutoGUI, FindText, etc... demonstrates.

AutoHotkey shines in the context of small automation, utility, and application software because of how quickly one can make them in the language and/or in terms of usefulness. A lot of people are not professional software developers nor want to be, but they can have a problem that requires a software solution. This is where AutoHotkey comes in, because it can empower non software developers, workers, schools, or small businesses on a tight budget.

Examples:

1) You are an IT person managing hundreds of computers. You might want a program that allows users to select, download, and install software that is specific to their department.

Maybe like install, setup Video Conference software, or do an automatic Video Conference connection at a set time, so it's no brainer automatic and as easy as possible for non IT or technically illiterate users.

Note- And there is no way in hell management is going to pay a real software developer or company to do that, but will be happy as a peach if the IT dept does it or to promote the person who can successfully do such tasks.

2) A person is an executive secretary, that needs to pull information out of invoices, match it up to a customer database of emails, and then send out a particular message from the boss to that specific group of customers.

3) Ordinary Joe wants his computer to find the latest news on the election and have the top stories ready prior to his morning cup of coffee.

It's not to say that such would not be possible in other programming languages. But even if the person is a real programmer or knows another language, AutoHotkey can simply be just more fun, smaller, and easier.
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boiler
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Re: What do you use AHK for?

15 Sep 2020, 07:28

PainFoinmr wrote:
15 Sep 2020, 04:18
My opinion is based on first impressions. Python has a lot of libraries like the example I used for web-scraper. It took me way longer to figure out than AHK, but the libraries really helped me get done what I needed. While for AHK - it just seems for smaller and more hobby projects. That's why I asked - what do people use it for.
Python has libraries for web scraping because it doesn’t inherently have the capabilities to do so like AHK does. That makes it less “advanced” in my opinion.

I and others have written commercial software in AHK with sales in the tens of thousands of dollars or more. I and others have had and still have full time jobs automating software (not just websites) and other tasks using AHK because it is the best and most advanced tool for the job. Pretty good for a smaller/hobby project language.
SOTE
Posts: 1056
Joined: 15 Jun 2015, 06:21

Re: What do you use AHK for?

15 Sep 2020, 23:17

Let us also not forget that a lot of Python libraries are really written in C and C++, that then have Python bindings on top. Other programming languages, including AutoHotkey, can pull this trick too (of using C/C++ libraries or dlls). The deeper you go into Python, the more you will be staring at C and C++ code. For example, CPython. It's not to make fun of this, as the same is true for AutoHotkey or JavaScript. I just find it a bit funny when people prop Python up or give the impression that it is "the final solution" when it comes to programming, but it's far from being such. When it comes to interpreted or scripting languages, I think it's more about convenience, situation, and personal preference.

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