March 21, 2008

Round-up of Learning Resources

Filed under: Automation,Scripting — Marcus Tettmar @ 10:00 am

Common questions we receive are things like “What’s the best way to learn more about Macro Scheduler?”, or “How can I advance my Macro Scheduler skills?”. You may be just getting started, or you may be wondering whether you can improve one of your scripts or how to tackle another process. There are a number of resources available.

Scripting Windows for Beginners

I recommend that new users start by reading the “Scripting Windows for Beginners” guide in the help file. This runs through a simple process of automating Windows Notepad. It only takes a few minutes but it introduces the key concepts of automating with Macro Scheduler. All the commands you learn in that tutorial will be needed in almost any other automation process. So do take the time to work through it.

How to Start Writing an Automation Script

Another useful resource for those just getting started is this article. I believe that if you know the process you are automating, and use some good old paper and a pen to jot down each key send and note down titles of windows as they appear, and any other timings/events that are important, you’ll be half way to creating your script. Read the article to learn more.

Getting more Advanced

The software comes with a number of example scripts showing how to get text from the screen, how to use screen image recognition to find and click on objects, how to read data from Excel, how to simulate user input, etc. Look at these examples and try to understand how they work. You’ll also find examples in the forums.

Articles on Specific Topics

Working with databases
Working with Excel
Screen Image Recognition
Text Capture

Some of these have downloads and videos with them. Browse/Search the Blog for more articles. There’s also the FAQs and other Support Resources. I’m adding articles all the time to the blog, so keep an eye on it and/or subscribe to the RSS feed, or subscribe by email. If there is something you’d like me to write about which hasn’t yet been covered, please let me know.

Search for Solutions

Search the forums here
Search the blog articles at the top right of any blog page.

Or search the entire site with Google:

Learning on the Job

Everyone learns differently. I prefer to learn by doing. There are usually no rights or wrongs in software automation. The right solution is the one that works and the one that you are comfortable with. So for anyone tackling a particular automation scenario for the first time I say just get stuck in. Break the process down to chunks and tackle one chunk at a time. If you’re unsure about anything ask in the forums, email us, or give us a call. But don’t be worried about having a go.

One on One Consultations

If you’re the sort of person who would prefer some one on one tuition, no problem. We can arrange a desktop sharing session. I’m not a believer in too many contrived “hello world” type learning examples and since one person’s automation scenario can vary so wildly from someone else’s I don’t believe it’s possible to create a generic course. Instead I think it’s far better to look at your specific task and discuss how we might go about automating it. Most people find that after picking our brains for a few minutes they have what they need to get the job done. We can show you a few ideas and run through some of the code if needed. And more often than not this gets people going in the right direction to finish the task off.