Talk to other apps

Posted on 2012-09-11
Last Modified: 2012-09-17

I'm using and Simply Accounting, I'm wondering if there would be a way to talk to Simply Accounting from while it's open.

For example, say I'm in my app in VB, I have simply accounting open, would there be a way from vb to tell simply accounting to perform some type of action, like open a window or a menu in simply accounting? Kind of like launching a recorded macro, a set of pre-recorded actions?

Is there an app I can download that records actions performed, which I can later launch from Are there any possibilities to do this?
Question by:FCapo
    1 Comment
    LVL 85

    Accepted Solution

    Yes, you can "talk" to other apps, but the way in which you do so depends on the target application.  Some apps actually have an open API that specifically allows you to communicate with it and make requests.  I don't know if Simply Accounting has any type of automation software for it.

    For software that doesn't directly support automation, you can usually just simulate keystrokes as if they were typed by the user.  There are two general approaches though:
    (1) Simulated keystrokes that are caught by whatever application happens to be in focus at the time.
    (2) Directed keystrokes that are sent to the application itself.

    Approach #1 is easy, but has the drawback that the target app has to be in focus.  If another app is focused then it will get the keystrokes instead of your intended target.  It is possible to force focus to the target app, but this may not work depending on the current settings of the OS.

    Approach #2 doesn't require the app to be in focus, but is much harder to implement as it requires the use of lower level windows APIs and some trial and error to determine which windows (or child-window) in the target app is the correct recipient.

    There are some free third-party tools, however, for just this purpose.  "AutoIt" is pretty commonly used and versatile:

        "AutoIt v3 is a freeware BASIC-like scripting language designed for automating the Windows GUI and general scripting. It uses a combination of simulated keystrokes, mouse movement and window/control manipulation in order to automate tasks in a way not possible or reliable with other languages (e.g. VBScript and SendKeys). AutoIt is also very small, self-contained and will run on all versions of Windows out-of-the-box with no annoying “runtimes” required!"

    Featured Post

    What Security Threats Are You Missing?

    Enhance your security with threat intelligence from the web. Get trending threat insights on hackers, exploits, and suspicious IP addresses delivered to your inbox with our free Cyber Daily.

    Join & Write a Comment

    Introduction When many people think of the WebBrowser ( control, they immediately think of a control which allows the viewing and navigation of web pages. While this is true, it's a…
    The ECB site provides FX rates for major currencies since its inception in 1999 in the form of an XML feed. The files have the following format (reducted for brevity) (CODE) There are three files available HERE (…
    Sending a Secure fax is easy with eFax Corporate ( First, Just open a new email message.  In the To field, type your recipient's fax number You can even send a secure international fax — just include t…
    Internet Business Fax to Email Made Easy - With eFax Corporate (, you'll receive a dedicated online fax number, which is used the same way as a typical analog fax number. You'll receive secure faxes in your email, fr…

    754 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

    Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

    Join & Ask a Question

    Need Help in Real-Time?

    Connect with top rated Experts

    20 Experts available now in Live!

    Get 1:1 Help Now