The Magic of AutoHotKey

As the systems person, I do some tasks repeatedly to keep library resources up and running. I have often wished for an easier way to do some of my more repetitive tasks and wondered if I could script them into automation. If I can automate a task, I do. But I am not a hot shot coder and being a smaller library with many hosted services, stuff is coming from many different places and servers (many of which I do not have direct access to) which would make some scripting difficult (or at least it does for me). Then came AutoHotKey!

AutoHotKey is this fabulous program that allows you to create scripts to do typical tasks on your computer. It can run commands, imitate keyboard/mouse strokes, transfer/manipulate files, open programs, and more all by running the script file. For example, I created a script that takes the file I get from our IT department, moves it to another folder, appends the date to a backup copy, runs Strawberry Perl to convert the file to an Aleph friendly format, opens the webpage I need to upload the file to the shared server, opens Aleph, runs the report for patron uploads as a test, and navigates to the Aleph Batch Log so I can see the output. After I confirm there are no errors, I can run a separate script to run the PLIF file to actually update the database.

If that sounds like a lot, it kinda is, so you could imagine my happiness at discovering AutoHotKey. If there is anything you do repetitively, AutoHotKey might make your life easier so you can “work smarter, not harder” without having to know much about coding languages.