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Declan Kelly

Full-Stack Web Developer

Desktop GUI and Browser Automation

1 min read · tagged productivity, browser tools

Most of my working day is spent doing some routine work tasks within the web browser (and also the shell). Working with a web browser for certain tasks repeated manually lends itself to being automated by software. This helps free up time and also prevents errors (as can easily happen when doing routine tasks without working against checklists, etc.) Over the next few weeks I hope to discover and share some insights into desktop automation. Please note that AutoHotkey is specific to Windows (you might be able to achieve similar results with Automator/AppleScript on Mac OS X, tools on Linux are limited but would include xdotool, LDTP, scripts)

  • AutoHotkey - For hotkeys, text expanding/replacing and commands
  • Selenium - For web browser automation
  • Bash Shell and Windows Command Prompt - For writing scripts and generating output quickly to shorten workflow
  • Node.js - Explore use of JavaScript and certain packages available on npm to automate certain tasks and integrate Selenium with automated shell task output, etc.

The above highlights the need for a good cross-platform open-source approach. Maybe using Node.js someone might create a project similar to AutoHotkey (in terms of functionality/approach) but with JavaScript syntax and can drive Selenium tasks? What are your own thoughts on automating routine tasks? Do you find yourself saving time or making less errors as a result of using certain tools? Feel free to engage in conversation in the comments below.