• Intro to AutoHotkey HotStrings with AutoHotkey Intermediate AutoHotkey GUIs are Easy with AutoHotkey Intro to DOS & AutoHotkey

04: Automating Chrome to Set Text & Click a button

Automating Chrome with AutoHotkey

In the fourth session with GeekDude we look at out to Chrome and AutoHotkeyautomate setting text in a search field and then hitting the button to submit the search.

Automating Chrome to Set Text & Click a button

donate to GeekDudeIf you’re loving this, please consider donating to GeekDude!

AutoHotkey script for Automating Chrome to Set Text & Click a button

#Include   ;Remember to put Chrome in your library folder

page:=Chrome.GetPageByTitle("AutoHotkey Community","contains") ;This will connect to the second index of a specific tab
If !IsObject(page){
MsgBox % "That wasn' t object / the page wasn't found"
page.Evaluate("document.querySelector('#keywords').value ='Chrome.ahk'")
Variable =document.querySelector('#keywords').value ='Chrome.ahk'
page.Evaluate("document.querySelector('#keywords').value ='" var "'")
page.Evaluate("document.querySelector('#search > fieldset > button').value ='Chrome.ahk'")

Notes for Automating Chrome to Set Text & Click a button

00:36     Go to AutoHotkey.com/boards/

00:44     Connect to tab using Chrome.GetPageByTitle(“AutoHotkey Community”) ;the default matchtype is “starts with”

01:23     Look at page structure using right-click and Inspect.  This opends Devtools with that element selected.

01:46     It has an ID of “keywords”, copy js path.  Which will give you queryselector(“#keywords”)

02:26     Use the .value to set some text in that box.

03:00     page.Evaluate(“document.querySelector(‘#keywords’).value =’Chrome.ahk'”)

04:01     Make sure inside the JavaScript you use the “=”, not “:=”

04:15     Some people don’t want to have to learn JavaScript.  When using Chrome, you’re going to have to learn JavaScript.

04:56     When using Chrome.ahk, we’re injecting JavaScript.  So best to learn

05:54     The button is right next to the input.  You can go back to the page and right-click the button, then hit Inspect

06:13     Test the new js path.  Instead of using .value, use .click

06:42     Test in Chrome developer tool

07:18     When running an Evaluate method, it waits for the previous Evaluate to finish (so no need to sleep between them).

07:44     If you run into a problem where you think it is happening too quickly, check the forum for some solutions

08:40     Sometimes what you want to input won’t always be a static string.  If you’re trying to reference a variable, you need to use the expression syntax.  In an expression, you’re not just assigning text, you’re doing math or making function calls.

Variable =document.querySelector(‘#keywords’).value =’Chrome.ahk’


page.Evaluate(“document.querySelector(”#keywords ‘).value ='” variablevar:=”duh”

page.Evaluate(“document.querySelector(‘#keywords’).value ='” var “‘”) “‘”)

10:48     This works because AutoHotkey splits everything up on a given line.   First is a name of a function, then says this is inside the function, then this is text inside a function.  Then builds from left to right as to the string that will be used.

12:15     AutoHotkey proceeds left to right when evaluating an expression

12:40     when you use := you’re in expression assignment mode.

13:25     With just single = you’re in plain-text mode.  It reads it as text

15:00     When automating a site, you don’t know what kind of buffer’s they have to prevent scraping / botting.

15:49     When you start automating, you might start seeing Captcha’s everywhere

16:04     Sites get really good at looking like a normal site to a user, but looking like an impenetrable fortress to code

16:36     If your variable contains a single quote or other special charachters, JavaScript will interpret it as code instead of text.

17:13     JavaScript string escape sequence will replace characters with special escape sequences

Not mentioned in Video but GeekDude wrote me after

You can escape JavaScript code using Coco’s JSON library does actually do that escaping that we discussed when talking about putting data on the page. The syntax for invoking it looks like this:

variable = 123`r`n456’quote”quote

page.Evaluate(“document.querySelector(‘#whatever’).value = ” Chrome.Jxon_Dump(variable))

The dump function will automatically escape anything that needs escaped and add quotes to anything that needs quotes.



01: Chrome and AutoHotkey- Connecting to Chrome with AutoHotkey | Amazing deep-dive into geeky things

Connecting to Chrome with AutoHotkeyConnecting to Chrome with AutoHotkey

This discussion wasn’t meant to be shared.  GeekDude was giving me some background on how we’re connecting to Chrome.  It is a bit “advanced” but some really good background info (especially understanding what a socket  verse WebSocket is).  Below is the video and my transcript-ed notes from the discussion

donate to GeekDudeIf you’re loving this, please consider donating to GeekDude!

Connecting to Chrome with AutoHotkey

1:50        Why starting with remote debugging port

1:41        Pages in debugging environment

2:18        Other browser automation tools like Selenium realized this is a great way to connect

2:53        The debugging tools like Chrome, Selenium, FireFox all adopted this same approach

4:00        Devtools protocol  https://chromedevtools.github.io/devtools-protocol/

4:09        Can I get the protocol as JSON?  If you’ve set –remote-debugging-port=9222 with Chrome, the complete protocol version it speaks is available at localhost:9222/json/protocol (remember to close all instances of Chrome before launching in debug mode)

4:30        The JSON string talks about everything you can do with the protocol

4:55        If you browse to this JSON page,  Chrome will show you all the debugable pages.  Tabs, Plugins, etc.

5:44        In json Look for webSocketDebuggerUrl and pick a “page”.  That will allow you to automate it

6:40        Iframe example with Google Doodle URL.  This will give you just the iFrame.   Get the ” devtoolsFrontendUrl” path then concatenate with your ip& port ( )   for example my hangouts was:

7:23        All you see in the debugger is from that iFrame (because we opened that iFrame directly)

9:06        other things marked as “pages”.  Long strings are probably extensions where someone didn’t fill out their info correctly

10:00     Automate plugins like lastpass.  It’s not documented yet, but you can see how to connect to it

11:00     When create instance of Chrome, it launches the Chrome browser and trys to get a specific debug port and then it saves that number for that instance.

11:37     We could have used the number

11:49     When creating other instances (GetPage() it takes that websocket debugger URL and passes it to the class “page” (in Chrome.ahk).

12:20     If there is a class in future versions of Chrome.ahk, he’ll probably only have the page class.  Because everything being done before you connect to that page is not live.      You have a live connection to the browser.  Everything up to this point wasn’t a “live” connection.  Once you have a connection to the page, it needs to be updated…

12:50     What is a websocket?

13:19     A socket is when you open a connection to another machine and you can send data to it and get data back.  It stays open and you can continue to transfer data back and forth

13:20     A webRequest is where you open a connection to a machine, you ask for a resources, it can wait and, when you get that resources back, you’re “done” an the connection is closed

13:40     Websockets bridge the two.  You start by sending a webrequest that says you want to open a websocket connection so that rather than a get/post winhttprequest, this is a special kind of request.  It “upgrades” that connection to a websocket connection.  From there it is much more similar to a regular socket.  You can send data back and forth.

What are WebSockets

14:29     This has been difficult to do from AutoHotkey because websockets were designed with a lot of abstraction to make things easier for the javascript developer.   A socket is much more loosey-goosey in that you send some bytes, they probably get there, probably not get there all at the same time, you fill up the buffer, occasionally flush the buffer, etc.  Websockets handle all of this for you! You send a “message” and it gets encapsulated.  The browser only exposes to you full messages.

So you don’t have to deal with text encoding, waiting for the full bytes, it all gets handled automatically.  That process takes a lot of extra code.  Even if you ignore the Secure sockets layer (SSL) writing all of that encryption code in AutoHotkey would be borderline insanity.  So it’s just not available.

15:52     That’s why when GeekDude  wrote Chrome.ahk and Discord.ahk, they both just create an instance of IE in the background and use ActiveX / COM to handle the WebSocket code.   This is fast but it is part of the instability.  It works great for the most part, but sometimes it just breaks down.

17:13     If IE dies, are we going to need to find another way?  GeekDude  thinks IE might never go away however he heard about websockets CAPI WebSocket Protocol Component API Functions for doing websockets.   This could be our way to create the WebSocket connection.

17:55     There’s a WebSocketCreateClientHandle function.  He’s not sure what it means, but it looks like a DLL compatible API call.  Hopefully we can use this to ditch IE.  Taking this approach will make it strange to implement Teadrinker’s solution.


  • Intro to AutoHotkey HotStrings with AutoHotkey Intermediate AutoHotkey GUIs are Easy with AutoHotkey Intro to DOS & AutoHotkey