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What is AutoIt?

By N. Kalu
Updated May 17, 2024
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AutoIT, pronounced as "aw-toe-it," is a freeware scripting language used to automate the Windows® graphical user interface (Windows® GUI). Automating the interface is of primary importance because it allows basic processes, such as system administration and console applications, to run. Today, AutoIT is also used as a general scripting language capable of high-level functions.

This scripting language is similar to Visual Basic®, making it relatively simple to learn for those with computer programming experience. It utilizes the same sort of syntax as Visual Basic® but serves a more specific function, particularly for the Windows® interface. BASIC-like languages such as AutoIT make it possible to quickly build an application prototype of a simple GUI.

As a high-level scripting language, AutoIt contains several features favorable to novice and professional developers alike. Developers can code loops, advanced functions, and specific regular expressions using this language. For developers who are familiar with Perl, another high-level programming language, AutoIT is particularly useful as it comes with a regular expressions engine that is compatible with Perl-based scripts.

For any person who has programmed, using a script editor is a well-known best practice. AutoIT is built with a SciTe editor that makes it simple to edit scripts and to ensure high quality code that will not break or produce bugs. The included SciTe editor is a modified version and does not contain all editing features. To obtain all of the features, it is best to download a complete version of the SciTe editor online. The complete version can also be used to edit scripts written in this language.

Being able to control applications using key strokes and mouse movements is another significant feature of this language. It allows the programmer to customize any key stroke and any mouse movement to execute a particular function within the Windows® GUI. The speed of the mouse movement can also be customized for a particular purpose. For instance, a slow and dragging manipulation of a mouse movement can lead to one function, while a quick manipulation of the same mouse movement can lead to a completely different function.

Perhaps the most salient feature of AutoIT is that it is freeware. This means that it is software that is completely free to use. Some freeware developers ask for donations to cut the costs of providing the software online. Developers of AutoIT still hold all legal rights to the scripting language, rendering its source code closed to modification by other developers.

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