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Author Topic: AutoIt3 versus AutoHotKey  (Read 27558 times)
Amadawn
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« on: January 28, 2006, 08:30:57 PM »

Hi guys,

I've seen several mentions of AutoHotKey here at donationcoder. I just wanted to mention also AutoIt3 (www.autoitscript.com) which is kind of the "older brother" of AutoHotKey. AutoHotKey was originally a fork (or a clone) of version 2 of AutoIt and has expanded some of the capabilities of AutoIt2. But AutoIt3 is a newer, much more powerful version of the AutoIt scripting language, with a much nicer "basic-like" syntax and a lot of improvements (COM support, very powerful GUI capabilities, regular expressions, etc). So I thought that you guys might want to check it out.  Grin

I've been using AutoIt3 for more than a year now and it is quite frankly the best procedural language that I've ever used. Someone was talking yesterday about programs that changed the way they work, and AutoIt3 is one of those programs for me.  Kiss

By the way, the developper of AutoHotKey was originally on the AutoIt2 developper team (although he was not the creator of the program) and I believe that there were some sour grapes between the two "brother" projects (I think that some of the AutoIt3 developers were unhappy of how AutoHotKey "rode upon" the fame of AutoIt) to the point that AutoIt3 stopped being GPL because they felt that their code was being stolen from them without the proper credit (now their code is semi-closed, where you have access to an older version and can ask for the newest version once you show your commitment to the project). I don't know much about these problems and I don't want to get anybody angry. I just want to let people now about an alternative to AutoHotKey, AutoIt3, which I think is better for most cases (unless you have a lot of AutoIt2 code which you do not want to update to the new syntax).

Cheers!

Amadawn

P.S.- mouser, this is really not meant to be any advertisement for AutoIt3 or anything like that. I did not know if this is the right forum to post this. As this is the forum where I normally write this is where I posted this. Please feel free to change it to the relevant forum if you think that is necessary.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2006, 12:38:40 AM by mouser » Logged
mouser
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« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2006, 10:48:45 PM »

we welcome discussion of different apps and their strengths and weaknesses here, not an add at all.
it's fascinating to hear some of the history of these two apps - i had no idea they had a common ancestor in code.

i always thought autoit was more user friendly but less powerful, but maybe i need to re-evaluate the idea that its less powerful.
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mouser
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« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2006, 12:39:55 AM »

this might also be a good time to state my view (and a view talked about on this forum in the past with regard to paying for software), that there are a lot of issues that go into deciding which program to use besides just the actual program itself.  ie. support, community, documentation, etc.
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f0dder
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« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2006, 12:44:04 AM »

I like AutoIt; I've been using it to script parts of my unattended XP setup, and I use it for tasks like automating SCP filecopy to my http server + copying URL to clipboard, using SSH (plink) to create SVN repositories on my server, etc.

I think the AutoIt exes are kind of bloated though, and the language could have been nicer. I'm almost tempted to do something of my own based on LUA, but... well... AI3 does the job and I can live with the exe sizes.
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Amadawn
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« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2006, 03:53:17 AM »

this might also be a good time to state my view (and a view talked about on this forum in the past with regard to paying for software), that there are a lot of issues that go into deciding which program to use besides just the actual program itself.  ie. support, community, documentation, etc.
You are totally right. For me the support on the AutoIt forums plus the really good documentation that comes with AutoIt were 2 of the most important factors that really made me start using AutoIt3 for a lot of my projects. That and the power of the scripting language itself, which I find amazing cheesy

Did you know that there is a version of the text editor Scite which has been totally customized for AutoIt3? It is called Scite4AutoIt3. It has code completion and a code explorer and it is integrated with the tools that come with AutoIt3 (like the script compiler and more). You can find the latest version in http://www.autoitscript.com/autoit3/scite/downloads.php. There is also a very cool (although not fully finished yet) GUI designer tool called Koda Form Designer which lets you make GUIs with AutoIt3 code in a snap (find it in http://www.autoitscript.com/fileman/users/lookfar/formdesign.html).

As you can see I really like AutoIt3. It has been incredibly useful for my job in the past year smiley
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Amadawn
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« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2006, 03:58:25 AM »

i always thought autoit was more user friendly but less powerful, but maybe i need to re-evaluate the idea that its less powerful.

I think that is true for AutoIt2 (i.e. AutoHotKey is like AutoIt2++), as I believe that AutoHotKey was born because one of the devs wanted to expand AutoIt2 with new functions while the rest of the devs were focusing on AutoIt3. But AutoIt3 has gone way beyond what you could do with AutoIt2 (GUIs, tray icons, even with their own right click menus, calling COM objects directly from the AutoIt scripts and a lot more stuff) so I think that now it is more powerful than AutoHotKey.

I think that you should download the latest beta and check the help file. You'll see there all the new functionality and then you can make up your mind.

Of course there might be some new stuff that has been put into AutoHotKey that is missing in AutoIt3, but I am not aware of it myself (but I'd love to know about it if someone here knows).

I also find the new syntax much better, but that might be just me smiley
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Amadawn
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« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2006, 04:11:04 AM »

I think the AutoIt exes are kind of bloated though, and the language could have been nicer. I'm almost tempted to do something of my own based on LUA, but... well... AI3 does the job and I can live with the exe sizes.

Bloated? They hardly are bigger than 150 KB, and I've never seen a compiled script bigger than 200 KB! That is small enough for me! smiley Although I must recognize that the size has gone up since the last version, since the GUI stuff was added, as it used to be smaller than 100 KB. The reason is that a compiled AutoIt script includes the actual AutoIt scripting engine. But is that different from AutoHotKey? I believe that both are based on the same code (I think that the AutoIt 3 team is even credited for it in the AutoHotKey web page) although perhaps the AutoHotKey scripts are smaller if they do not have some of the newer stuff (like COM support)?

But I do not want to sound like a fanboy (although I fear that I probably am Wink). In the AutoIt3 forum there have been a lot of requests for an updated compiler that is able to leave out the functions that are not used from the compiled script. The problem is that the function "Eval" which allows you to execute any arbitrary code requires to include all the functions and the devs fear that it would be cause for a lot of problems if some functions were removed.

The things that I miss most in AutoIt3 is a debugger and being able to create proper structs (which would be handy for XML parsing, and for some COM programming, for instance).

I don't know about LUA but you made me curious. Can you give me more info on it? Basic was the first language that I ever learned and that is perhaps why I find AutoIt3's syntax so natural but I understand that some people might prefer a more C like or BAT like language.
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f0dder
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« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2006, 04:17:30 AM »

Well yeah, I think it's a bit bloated... I would compile the script to bytecode, so the output .exe files don't need to have parser+compiler etc., but "just" the VM + engine. LUA would be pretty suitable for this. But well, I have an assembly background, so I might be a bit oversealous wrt. size Wink

The biggest flaw with AutoIt, IMHO, is that "compiling" doesn't actually compile (and thus, syntax check) the scripts - this sucks if you're 20 minutes into an unattended install, before you realize that your script misses a single string quote character...

LUA - www.lua.org . Lots of software uses it now, including games like Painkiller and World Of Warcraft.
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Amadawn
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« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2006, 04:32:58 AM »

The biggest flaw with AutoIt, IMHO, is that "compiling" doesn't actually compile (and thus, syntax check) the scripts - this sucks if you're 20 minutes into an unattended install, before you realize that your script misses a single string quote character...

Have you heard of "Au3Check"? You can find info about it and the download link in the following AutoIt3 forum post: http://www.autoitscript.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=3169. Basically it fixes what you mention. It performs the actual syntax check on any script and it tells you where are the syntax errors (if any). I think that you should give it a try, as I've had the same problem that you mention before I knew about this little tool. I agree with you that they could put use the bytecode instead. The only advantage of their approach is that you can extract the actual script code from a compiled script, which might come handy (you can avoid this by checking the right option on the AutoIt3 compiler though). However I'd prefer that you had at least the option of using bytecode instead as you say.

By the way, if you install the Scite4AutoIt3 package that I mentioned earlier, you'll get this Au3Check as well (it is fully integrated into the editor).

Thanks for the info on LUA. that seems very promising. I didn't know that that was what WoW uses.

Cheers,

Amadawn
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wr975
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« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2006, 06:02:30 AM »

because they felt that their code was being stolen from them without the proper credit

There are a quite some threads in the Autohotkey forum about this topic. Here's what I learned: Almost all of Authotkey is own code. Some commands use or are based on source code of AutoIt (back then Open Source, so it's no stealing). The author of Autohotkey lists all these few commands somewhere in the forum and gives proper credit. Some external tools, like the compiler, are almost unmodified from AutoIt. Again, proper credit is given. Heck, if I launch the Autohotkey compiler I see a huge "AutoIt" logo...  Wink

What to use? Which one is the better program to use? You decide. Just use what you want.


FWIW, if you want to advertise for AutoIt, code some Coding Snacks. Because of Skrommel's coding snacks I got interested in Autohotkey and now I can't live without this program...
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AbteriX
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« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2006, 06:16:47 AM »

The best for me on AutoIt3 is that there is an complete german CHM help file !
THAT helps ME alot!
We have an german forum and an wiki for AutoHotKey, but to have
all that descriptions of the commands and feature of such an language
right by the hand as an CHM is an big aid!


And an big thank you for the links  cheesy
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AbteriX
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« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2006, 09:27:07 AM »

DIM XX = "versus"
(Sorry mouser, that was just the title of that threads)


a few more background infos:

AutoHotKey XX AutoIt - http://www.autoitscript.c...index.php?showtopic=20897

more of this...
http://www.autoitscript.c...9&highlite=AutoHotKey



AutoHotkey XX AutoIt? - http://www.autohotkey.com...7630&highlight=autoit

autoIT XX autohotkey - http://www.autohotkey.com...orum/viewtopic.php?t=4363


Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AutoHotkey
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autoit


« Last Edit: January 30, 2006, 02:55:16 AM by Stefan » Logged

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mouser
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« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2006, 09:41:43 AM »

id just like to say i probably should not have ever mentioned the term "autohotkey VS. autoit"
both programs have active communities and seem like fantastic wonderful projects, and i don't in any way mean to put them against each other.  both are great and different people will have different uses for each.
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Amadawn
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« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2006, 05:53:08 PM »

because they felt that their code was being stolen from them without the proper credit

There are a quite some threads in the Autohotkey forum about this topic. Here's what I learned: Almost all of Authotkey is own code. Some commands use or are based on source code of AutoIt (back then Open Source, so it's no stealing). The author of Autohotkey lists all these few commands somewhere in the forum and gives proper credit. Some external tools, like the compiler, are almost unmodified from AutoIt. Again, proper credit is given. Heck, if I launch the Autohotkey compiler I see a huge "AutoIt" logo...  Wink

What to use? Which one is the better program to use? You decide. Just use what you want.


FWIW, if you want to advertise for AutoIt, code some Coding Snacks. Because of Skrommel's coding snacks I got interested in Autohotkey and now I can't live without this program...

wr975 I did not intend to give AutoHotKey bad press or something like that as I do not know what happened exactly between the two groups of developpers. There is not much talk about it on the AutoIt forums anymore. From what I've been able to learn I think that although the AutoHotKey guys gave AutoIt the proper credit they did not feel that they were getting anything in return for their work (i.e. the AutoHotKey devs did not really contribute much back to AutoIt3). I suspect that perhaps some people felt betrayed when not everyone jumped into the AutoIt3 bandwago. Anyway, that is an old story and as mouser said in the end it is nice that there are two similar tools so that people can choose the one that is best for them. I really like AutoIt3 and I wanted to let you guys know about it smiley.

I agree that the best way to advertise AutoIt3 is to contribute some code or some programs. The problem is that most of the code I write is very specific to my work and would not be useful for most other people.

But, I can contribute with two guys. If some of you use GPIB for their work, that is, if some of you need to remotelly control from a PC instruments like osciloscopes, signal generators, spectrum analyzers, etc, you can use the "VISA" library that I created for AutoIt3 (and which is included with the default AutoIt installation).

Also, I have a little program that I use to hide/show the Windows Desktop Search floating toolbar by clicking a hotkey. If you are interested I can put it here (mouser, can you tell me how to do that)?
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Amadawn
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« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2006, 06:31:42 PM »

Wow, I went through some of those threads and I really did not realize how emotionally loaded was this issue! It was not my intention to mix into some problem between the two communities. As I said, I just wanted to let people know about AutoIt3 which I use all the time.

So sorry about this guys! No more posts on this issue from me smiley. I just hope you give AutoIt3 a try and see if you like it or if it can do something for you.

Cheers!
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mouser
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« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2006, 07:12:22 PM »

Amadawn. i'm happy to host any such files; you can send it to me at mouser@donationcoder.com.
and anyone who would like to make available scripts or programs and stuff that they've written on a regular basis just contact me about making you a lttle webspace with ftp access so you can share your stuff with the world.
or you can always just attach it to a thread post and it will be available to everyone that way smiley
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Edvard
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« Reply #16 on: January 30, 2006, 02:24:01 PM »

I used AI3 for a while, and thought it was great. Basic-like syntax hit a soft spot with me, and I could do useful things without doing bat-file gymnastics. Then I saw Skrommel doing all these nifty things with AHK in the Coding Snacks and decided to check it out. Classic case of "use what works for you":
 I needed some (well, more than a few...) scripts to do loops in folders for counting, deleting temp files, processing graphics, etc., and found that making loops that worked like I wanted with AI3 was quite difficult. I had to ask in the forum how to do it and got an answer fairly quickly. However, it ended up being rather complex and the syntax not exactly how it was described in the help file. I had to keep that around as a code scrap for recycling in other scripts. Then I found out that AHK does loops MUCH easier and with more functionality, so I switched. I am pretty sure there are more advanced things that can be done in AI3, but it just isn't what I needed. YMMV.
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AbteriX
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« Reply #17 on: January 30, 2006, 03:28:20 PM »

Thanks, such examples helps to differ both. (btw i have both tools on my disc and play around with both, since i am no programmer i don't know what is better above the other. But that is no really matter. If one works it's OK, if the other do what i suggest he should do, it's OK too.)
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« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2006, 09:08:31 PM »

GPIB Huh? Do you deal with satellite commo by chance? My job in the army deals with lots of spec any's o-scopes, Scalar Network Analyzers, Signal Sweep Gens, etc. Perhaps you could pm me a link to your library.
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Amadawn
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« Reply #19 on: January 30, 2006, 09:31:56 PM »

Quote
GPIB Huh? Do you deal with satellite commo by chance? My job in the army deals with lots of spec any's o-scopes, Scalar Network Analyzers, Signal Sweep Gens, etc. Perhaps you could pm me a link to your library.

I am a Telecommunications System Engineer, working on 3G wireless algorithms, but I've done a lot of automated system testing as well. I normally would use LabWindows/CVI but for smaller projects I wanted to use AutoIt3, and that is why I made my little VISA library.

The VISA/GPIB library that I made is integrated with the current release of AutoIt3. That is, you just need to download and install AutoIt3 and use the library functions on your scripts (which you can compile).

The library is based on VISA and I've only tested with National Instruments GPIB cards (but I would expect it to work with HPIB cards as well, as long as they come with VISA drivers).

To find out which functions are available open the AutoIt3 helpfile and search for VISA or for _viExecCommand (which is the main GPIB/VISA function). I've tried to be pretty thourough on the documentation so I hope you will not have many problems using it.

In particular, the help for the _viExecCommand command contains a pretty simple but clear (I hope!) example at the end of the help entry which should get you up and running in no time. If you have any problems just PM OK? I'd love to hear if you've successfully used it (I know of others that have and have told me so on the AutoIt forums).

Cheers!

Angel
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Edvard
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« Reply #20 on: February 03, 2006, 01:40:51 PM »

FWIW- New version of Autohotkey out:
Quote
The latest version is 1.0.41.02 (released February 1, 2006)
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« Reply #21 on: November 04, 2007, 04:32:02 AM »

Hiya,
sorry for bringing up the old thread but I am "autoiter" for 3 years now.
AutoIt has grown in very powerful programming language now. With UDF libaries, like Auto3Lib by Paulia (over 1000 user defined functions), it may be much better than AutoHotKey. I don't know - I never tested AutoHotKey, but as far as I can see from visiting support section on their forum, it is much more complicated than AutoIt's syntax. It may be better to old C++ geeks but I more prefer BASIC like syntax. A simple example of AutoIt script (by me - desktop gadget which shows time) can be found at http://i542.gigacities.net/AlphaClockSetup.zip. If somebody asks me, I like AutoIt more, but it is your choice between AutoIt and AutoHotKey.
i542
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kalos
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« Reply #22 on: November 04, 2007, 08:55:40 AM »

just wanted to say that autohotkey community is much more helpful, skilled and active than autoit community

can't say why this happen, but that's my opinion...
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