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03: How to Automate Chrome to Navigate to a page and Set text

Chrome and AutoHotkey

Automating Chrome with AutoHotkey

In this session with GeekDude we cover how to navigate to a page, use JavaScript, and set text on a page / element.

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Script from Call

My notes from the session

00:30     Navigate to

00:50     connect to page

01:45     Call the DevTools function Page.Navigate  “https://p.ahkscript.org/”)

02:38     you need to call it by using page.Call(“Page.navigate”,{“url”:“https://p.ahkscript.org/”})

03:00     Look at parameters of Page.Navigate to understand what you need to pass

04:07     You can use page.WaitForLoad() to make sure the page loads (but it isn’t always needed).  Sometimes it waits too long or not long enough.  Check the forum thread for possible help

05:00     You might want to adapt some of their code to update GeekDude’s Chrome class

06:10     Make sure your page grabs the title of the right page (as it can update)

06:40     Put text into page element using JavaScript.  The input field on p.ahkscript.org isn’t a normal edit field.  Many sites have more-advanced field types

07:34     Inspect the page source.  This website imports a script called ace.js

<script src=”https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/ace/1.2.7/ace.js” type=”text/javascript” charset=”utf-8″></script>

08:30     It has it’s own JavaScript API.  So when you want to talk to an Ace control, you need to talk in it’s language.  You’ll need to evaluate your site to see what it is using…  Always look for how to work with it using JavaScript.  When you’re using Chrome.ahk everything you’re doing is running through JavaScript!

8:57        You’re using AutoHotkey to run the JavaScript to drive Chrome.

9:00        In https://p.ahkscript.org/index.js you can see how that page talks to Ace. It could give you information on how to do it.  Mimic what the page itself is doing.   Not all sites are as easy as this to see what does

10:00     In this example, It creates an Editor variable and calls all of the editor commands on that.

10:23     Look back to Ace.js documentation you can see Editor is a section of the documentation.  This shows all the different methods to communicate with an Ace control.

10:47     Since we want to set text look for one that does that.  We’ll use Insert  function (Inserts text into wherever the cursor is pointing.)  Insert(String text)

11:15     In the  pastebin code’s index.js we see everything is called with editor dot (editor.) method name

11:25     We’ll prototype our JavaScript code from the Chrome developer tools because those give better immediate feedback (debugging info) of what went wrong.  Once we have a working line of JavaScript we’ll put that in AutoHotkey.

11:30     Go to Console within the Chrome debugging view (Control+Shift+i)

11:48     Look for the variable Editor by typing Editor.  It should respond showing you that it exists and is available

11:56     Auto-Assist works.  Try typing Editor.Insert (because insert is a method) .  Give it some text to test.

editor.insert(“hello world”)

12:17    The text should show up on the pastebin page.  😊

12:28     Take it over to your AutoHotkey code and try it from there using Page.Evaluate

12:42     The Double quotes are a problem because ahk and JavaScript both use them.

13:00     You could use the legacy assignment to set it.  But this gives us 2 lines of code

13:40     Thankfully JavaScript can use single quotes  most of the time.

page.Evaluate(“editor.insert(‘hello world’)”)

14:00     The Evaluate Method- that’s saying “evaluate the JavaScript” as it is using the same functionality as putting JavaScript in the Chrome development tools console and hitting Enter.  It runs it through the same interface.  Evaluate is short for “Take this JavaScript, run it on the page, and return the result.

14:53     Maybe your JavaScript has a ” that you want .   AutoHotkey requires you to double-up the quotes  “” (basically it escapes the second one).  AutoHotkey will reduce it from two quotes to one quote.

15:30     Maybe the page your using is simpler.  A lot of places have very simple pages.  They’ll just have standard input control which you can access with standard JavaScript.  Another site is mytextarea.net

16:12     Inspect the code for mytextarea.net  and you’ll see it is literally just a textbox

16:20     Let’s navigate to that page.  You’ll see we have to find a different way to connect as every page is unique.

17:16     When you’re writing JavaScript to a page you don’t know much about, one of the biggest problems you’re going to have is how do I get it to act on just this part of the page, this element, this box?

17:31     When in DevTools console, right click on the element you want, then Copy, and select Copy JS path (Selector is also helpful)

18:00     This returns the JavaScript code that that can be used to access that element (it is the Path to it)

18:00     So use that path, then we want to get it’s value

document.querySelector(“body > textarea”).value

18:48     this uses QuerySelector which returns the first instance.  QuerySelectorAll returns an array.

20:14     As long as you copy js Path you’ll probably get something useful (not sure if it is the DOM or how it is decided)

20:20     Any tools you can use like iWB2 learner tool for Chrome- No, GeekDude not aware

21:00     Here we’ve access a value.  Let’s set a new value

document.querySelector(“body > textarea”).value =’fruit’

21:26     Now take this from the Devtools and put it into AutoHotkey.  Make sure you replace double quotes with single quotes  page.Evaluate(“document.querySelector(‘body > textarea’).value =’taco'”)

21:30     Make sure the title / URL is the correct one