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Best Windows Automation Software

Posted on 2003-11-21
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Last Modified: 2010-04-14
I would like to get some advice on what Windows Automation software to purchase for my company.  Preferably it should be something that can be purchased from a "real" company rather than shareware.

It has to be able to do the following:
1) Simulate a person interacting with a web form/application through Internet Explorer.  Including entering data into fields, selecting from lists, and clicking on buttons.
2) Needs to have some sort of file that can store the data to enter into the fields.  This way we can have it loop and interact with the web app over and over again with different inputs.
3) Needs to support cutting-and-pasting of web result pages into Excel or another application.

Basically we are trying to deal with a limited web front-end to a database.  We would like to construct complex queries that return all the data we need in one-fell-swoop, but this is not allowed.  So now we have to get the data bit by bit and paste it all together in Excel.  This takes way too much time and is subject to user error.

So if we can "queue" all our queries in a file that is executed against the web form by some Windows automation software, then we get all the data by just pressing one button.

Any ideas/recommendations?
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Question by:dastrw
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8 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:Dexstar
ID: 9798335
@dastrw:

> So if we can "queue" all our queries in a file that is executed against the
> web form by some Windows automation software, then we get all the data by just
> pressing one button.

I don't know how handy you are with Excel, but Excel can directly open web pages and import their contents.  It also has a huge macro interface that you could use to automate the process.  Maybe put all the parameters for your queries in one sheet, and then have a macro that opens up each query and saves the data.  Just a thought.

Hope That Helps,
Dex*
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Author Comment

by:dastrw
ID: 9798800
How do I get Excel to enter data from the spreadsheet into web form fields?  And how do I get Excel to click on the web form's "Submit" button?
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Expert Comment

by:Dexstar
ID: 9798890
Okay, well, if that's the case, then it might be easier to write a macro to automate Internet Explorer.  What you want to do is entirely possible, I'm just not sure how much effort you want to put into it.  It isn't going to be something you just whip out in a few hours.

Dex*
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Author Comment

by:dastrw
ID: 9798940
That's the point of Windows Automation software (e.g. WinBatch).  It basically lets you record macros within the entire Windows system rather than just in Excel or just in IE.  I have extensive experience writing VB macros in Excel and Access, but I don't want to have to write that odd Microsoft code to call out of one application into another and worry about handles, etc.  I'd like something that lets me write understandable code that spans all of the applications in Windows.

WinBatch claims to do this, but their web page hasn't been updated in over a year and I'd like to get some ideas on other products before settling for this one.
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Dexstar earned 500 total points
ID: 9799010
Okay... Well, I asked around, and my one friend swears by http://www.unisyn.com/automate/  but my other friend tells me that http://www.pitrinec.com/toolsworks.htm is the way to go.  So, check those out.

Dex*
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LVL 2

Author Comment

by:dastrw
ID: 9799317
I had found those two as well on an earlier search.  It is good to hear that others think well of them.

Has anyone you know used them for what we're looking to do?  Most of the user testimonials talk about automating sys admin tasks and similar.  I don't see where people are using them to simulate web application execution.
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LVL 19

Expert Comment

by:Dexstar
ID: 9799381
Yeah, the guy who uses AutoMate does stuff with the Web and Word, which is similiar to your Web/Excel application.

Dex*
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Author Comment

by:dastrw
ID: 9799409
Thanks for your help.
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