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Why doesn't AHK get the respect it deserves?


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Cruncher1
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OH, AND HOW AWESOME that we saved the Wikipedia page! Nice!



mikek
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Here at work, many if not most of our daily automated processes are done by or involve ahk in some way. Although most here probably have no idea, our company has come to rely on ahk. I have 114 scripts running daily which I track, and some weekend-only scripts which I don't track yet. These scripts send out reports, process data, run maintenance work, etc. While other departments have grown 200-300% on average, we get more work done with the same people, with much if not most of the credit going to the use of ahk. It has become very easy to rely on ahk. I have not been keeping up on my other language skills though. In the back of my head I have been wondering how difficult it would be to find a job elsewhere, if needed. Even here, there seems to be the perception that ahk is used "to make hotkeys", but that is not how it is really being used here.



Sidola
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Here at work, many if not most of our daily automated processes are done by or involve ahk in some way. Although most here probably have no idea, our company has come to rely on ahk. I have 114 scripts running daily which I track, and some weekend-only scripts which I don't track yet. These scripts send out reports, process data, run maintenance work, etc. While other departments have grown 200-300% on average, we get more work done with the same people, with much if not most of the credit going to the use of ahk. It has become very easy to rely on ahk. I have not been keeping up on my other language skills though. In the back of my head I have been wondering how difficult it would be to find a job elsewhere, if needed. Even here, there seems to be the perception that ahk is used "to make hotkeys", but that is not how it is really being used here.

 

Yeah, this is pretty much the same scenario I'm in. Sadly I got hired as a simple worker so I've had to kind of sneak my scripts into our workflow as I go since management don't really give a crap about what I suggest. I still get weird looks from our IT-deparetment when I mention you can automate or simplify tasks using something called "AutoHotkey"...

 

And funny you should mention keeping up with other languages, that's also one of my main motivations for learning another language. Even thought it feels like you can optimize a whole bunch of things using AHK there's no way I'll get hired elsewhere by having: Can script in AutoHotkey, on my resume.



Cruncher1
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That is awesome. One "trick" I use in my office is that I have a file in every computer's Startup folder which syncs to a shared Dropbox. So, if I decided I want to change anything on anyone's computer. I can edit that script, from anywhere, put it in the dropbox and the next time that computer starts up it will run my script on their machine. I also have a layered password system this way too. So the employee thinks they have a password like "xyz123" but ahk replaces it with a real password ::xyz123::realpassword. So, they don't know the "real" passwords, and they don't know that they don't know them. If that makes sense.

 

 

 

I have not been keeping up on my other language skills though. In the back of my head I have been wondering how difficult it would be to find a job elsewhere, if needed. 

 

That maybe, but you are also making yourself nearly impossible to replace! LOL



Cruncher1
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I have a suggestion to whomever it is who has control over the destiny of AHK: name change.

 

I really think that is part of AHK's problem. There is no intrigue or flavor in the name "AutoHotkey". And besides, the name suggest that it has a sole purpose of creating hot keys.

The name Java sounds cool. Python sounds cool. Rename AHK something like Cobra or Mocha and it might help! Call it Graffiti, call it Phoenix, call it anything. .

Sometimes a rose by another name does smell sweeter.



strobo
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Then, why not calling it Ahk? (Maybe not so cool.) Imo, you stated one big reason for the underestimation of AHK. How does all this relate to AutoIt? Does it have a better image?


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Cruncher1
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I don't think switching from AutoHotkey to AHK really does enough to re-brand it. 



keybored
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AHK has a great community here. It is well documented here, people with questions are well supported here. I think part of the reason it doesn't get more attention is that to get someone's attention they have to look here. I don't think having another AHK forum somewhere would be preferred, but it's interesting that any other place online devoted to AHK is probably going to remain small and unattended because thankfully this site has been very helpful.



evilc
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Personally, my biggest gripe with AHK is the syntax. Often when I am coding for AHK, 99% of the bugs are due to quirks in AHK's syntax.

I guess it is maybe because there are so many ways of representing the same idea (%var% or % var for example) and the fact that variables cannot be used in some places (GUI control variables cannot be arrays for example).

 

AHK is just too quirky - if it were a consistent syntax, I think it would be a lot more popular.

 

I guess this is maybe to do with support for AutoIt as well? Personally I would fully support a version of AHK that streamlined syntax and made AHK more like traditional high-level programming languages.



guest3456
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Personally, my biggest gripe with AHK is the syntax. Often when I am coding for AHK, 99% of the bugs are due to quirks in AHK's syntax.
I guess it is maybe because there are so many ways of representing the same idea (%var% or % var for example) and the fact that variables cannot be used in some places (GUI control variables cannot be arrays for example).
 
AHK is just too quirky - if it were a consistent syntax, I think it would be a lot more popular.
 
I guess this is maybe to do with support for AutoIt as well? Personally I would fully support a version of AHK that streamlined syntax and made AHK more like traditional high-level programming languages.

feel free to voice your opinion on the changes for AHKv2
http://www.autohotke...oughts-for-v20/

Cruncher1
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Personally, my biggest gripe with AHK is the syntax. Often when I am coding for AHK, 99% of the bugs are due to quirks in AHK's syntax.

I guess it is maybe because there are so many ways of representing the same idea (%var% or % var for example) and the fact that variables cannot be used in some places (GUI control variables cannot be arrays for example).

 

Interesting. Personally, I like the flexibility in the AHK syntax. It seems like there are at least 2 ways to express most things in AHK.  However, I do not have expertise in any other language. So, maybe if I came from that background I might feel the same. 



Joe Glines
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I'm not a program by trade but I cannot envision doing my job w/o AHK!  I've been using AHK for about 3 years now.  The first 2 years I was mainly using hotstrings I'd created to "write my syntax" for SPSS (statistical program)  It made me amazingly efficient at my job as a statistical analyst.

 

The past year I've been learning OOP and using COM to automate a ton of daily tasks which typically start with

1) loading a web page & saving it

2) importing it into Excel and manipulating it and

3) emailing the Excel files. 

 

Being able to access objects from the various Microsoft office programs is AMAZING!!!  Perhaps the same could be done with other "hard-core" programming languages but I know for certain I could not have done it in them! 

 

While understanding the concepts of Objects was/is difficult, defining the variable types has seemed daunting to me and has kept me from using other programming languages.  So while some may view not defining them as a negative, I view it as a necessity.

 

To the original question regarding why doesn't AHK come up more often as an "easy programming language to learn"  I think it is because most people that are commenting on the subject ARE PROGRAMMERS.  My guess is that when programmers think AHK is a scripting language not a "programming" language.

 

As a side note, I'm still dumbfounded when I speak with IT people and they are manually doing so many things that could easily be automated.  I know not all IT people are programmers, but surely they should be aware of how scripts can save them an enormous amount of time? 


Automating the mundane 1 script at a time...
https://www.linkedin.com/in/joeglines
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Miguel7
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I'm in the same boat as Sidola and mikek: I use it all the time at work; I know C#, Java and a bunch of other languages, and which one I use depends on the project (in particular for most web-based stuff), but I find that for the overwhelming majority of my projects AHK is the way to go.  To me, the only real limit is that it only runs on Windows.  I say this because:

 

- On the security side, no code is ever 100% secure.  There are things you can do like obfuscation, but there are decompilers out there for every compiled language I know of (except for C/C++, and even these can be decompiled into ASL, from what I've read), and other interpreted languages like Python are in the same boat as AHK (unless they're running on a server or something).  And even server-side scripts in languages like PHP or ASP.Net are not secure if someone can gain access to the server.  Now as far as connection strings and stuff go, I've seen applications that store these in an external "configuration" file - just plain text or XML!  That has nothing to do with the language it was written in.  I get why they do it that way (in case the string changes etc.) but that's not a language issue.  I'm no expert on the subject but I think a program's "security" depends more on what you do than the language you do them in.

 

 - Type safety is a nice feature, but in "scripting" languages like AHK I accomplish the same thing with naming conventions.  I know sName is a string, bWorking is a boolean, and nAge is a number (and I know that internally there are major differences between ints and floats and doubles and all that, but "number" works for me, lol), etc.  Everyone knows not to try to add a string and a number, so here I know what "type" a variable is just by its name; and there's no need to research type conversions (which are different in every language - my favorite is C#'s simple "Convert.ToInt32" and "Object.ToString" methods).

 

 - As far as performance is concerned, AHK rocks.  I've got a 3,000+ line project that is uber-fast and often has to be slowed down (because it's automating a sluggish program that was done in some other language, I'm thinking VB.Net by the errors it produces).

 

 - Ease of use: Java has been said to be very "newbie friendly" and is my "first language" - but AHK trumps Java in this department. :)

 

 - Built-in capabilities/libraries: AHK uses COM and DllCalls for a lot of things where other languages have built-in APIs (like parsing XML, sending HTTP requests, drawing graphics onto a GUI Gdip-style etc.), but who cares?  LOL... the functionality is all there.  I haven't seen a single task in another language that I couldn't do in AHK.

 

 - And this is my favorite: I've seen some incredible applications built in AHK.  Last week I was researching OCR stuff and found a program called "Capture2Text"; it had a robust OCR system and also voice recognition, and I was sure it had to be a .Net or C++ job.  But when I unzipped it and found the "source" folder, sure enough - it was AHK.  That's the latest in a long list of great software developed in AHK.

 

But as far as the actual question (of why doesn't it get the respect it deserves), the only thing I've seen is that it has a reputation of being a "gamers' toy language".  I'm a bit of a gamer myself (mostly old-school emulators and my own creations), and I don't mean any offense to gamers, but I've seen more stuff on both sites about how to cheat at games than anything else.  I think if we could break from that, AHK would be better able to get recognized as a "real" language.  But if you ask me, it already is! :)



nnnik
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- On the security side, no code is ever 100% secure.  There are things you can do like obfuscation, but there are decompilers out there for every compiled language I know of (except for C/C++, and even these can be decompiled into ASL, from what I've read), and other interpreted languages like Python are in the same boat as AHK (unless they're running on a server or something).  And even server-side scripts in languages like PHP or ASP.Net are not secure if someone can gain access to the server.  Now as far as connection strings and stuff go, I've seen applications that store these in an external "configuration" file - just plain text or XML!  That has nothing to do with the language it was written in.  I get why they do it that way (in case the string changes etc.) but that's not a language issue.  I'm no expert on the subject but I think a program's "security" depends more on what you do than the language you do them in.

Any computer that can execute the code can get some sort of original or more readable code from the file it executes. It has to read it and understand it to execute it. Therefore any other program can read and execute. Security is always exactly 0.


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