Automation and Terminal Emulation - Scripting with TTWin Basic

In previous blog posts we’ve taken a look at several options for automating your host terminal emulation session such as activeX and TTWin’s macros. Between these two options falls TTWin Basic, TTWin's built in scripting language. It offers more power and flexibility than a simple macro yet is not as involved as a full blown development project utilizing ActiveX.

Update: The release of TTWin version 4.8 saw a significant upgrade to TTWin's scripting capabilities. For more information take a look at this blog post.
What exactly is TTWin Basic?
TTWin Basic is TTWin’s built in scripting language and can be used for controlling and automating all aspects of TTWin and it’s connection to a host system. Of course, being a scripting language, creating a TTWin Basic script is not an viable option for every user, particularly those who lack any prior experience with scripting or programming languages. However, TTWin Basic is closely modeled on Microsoft’s Visual Basic which eases the learning curve for the many users who have had exposure to that or similar programming languages.

What can TTWin Basic do for me?
The possibilities are endless - well, almost! Typically users who employ TTWin Basic are looking for sophisticated solutions to improve or enhance the way their end users interact with a host system. Here are just a few simple examples of what is possible with TTWin Basic:

  • Automating the login process
  • Creating and displaying dialog boxes, and performing actions on the subsequent user responses.
  • Calling routines in external DLLs
  • Printing and/or clearing the screen
  • Opening and closing modem connections
  • Sending data to and receiving data from the host
  • Connecting to and disconnecting from the host
  • Launching a webpage
  • Automating steps to walk through a host system menu hierarchy and much, much more.

Consider a real-life scenario where you might have a staff member entering customer orders into a host system. A TTWin Basic script could be used to watch for entry to the screen or field dealing with credit card entry. Once detected the script could pop up a user friendly dialogue for credit card number entry and perform a basic client side verification  before sending the number back to the host.

Scripts can be created in a basic text editor or your favourite development environment (IDE) and TTWin 4 offers in-program debugging and script verification tools.

Scripts can then be tied to a key combination, a button, macro or mouse action, allowing actions to be seamlessly integrated into the users' workflow. In TTWin version 4 scripts can be set to run as public scripts, meaning any user of TTWin can execute the script, or as a private script, limited to a single user.

Additionally, depending on the level of access you have to your host system scripts can be set up to be initiated through host behavior. A TTWin Basic script can reside on the host and be sent as part of the data stream, adding flexibility by allowing the script to be tailored on the fly and removing the need for the script installation on each and every client machine.

Whether a TTWin Basic script is the most suitable tool for the project you have in mind really depends on the level of sophistication your solution requires. It’s worthwhile investigating whether what you're looking to do can be achieved more simply using a macro. For more details on the syntax of TTWin Basic and for samples and documentation to get you up and running, download the TTWin Basic Manual and TTWin Basic QuickStart guide from our support downloads area. Please note that scripting is only available for our windows terminal emulator TTWin and not the TTWin Lite product.

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