Automation and Terminal Emulation: Macros

Perhaps one of the most useful features in TTWin is it’s macro capabilities. TTWin’s macros offer a wide variety of options for automation that, unlike ActiveX or our built-in scripting language TTWin Basic, require no knowledge of programming languages making them significantly easier for the casual user. Macros can be created quickly and easily to achieve automation of tasks and host interactivity. Now, with the addition of a Macro Assistant in TTWin version 4, the task of building macros is now even simpler.

What is a Macro?
A Macro can be simply described as a text string that, when interpreted by a program such as TTWin, provides the ability to execute multiple operations consecutively. Often a Macro will contain many commands within a very small text string -  it’s best thought of as a kind of ‘shortcut’ that performs multiple operations. Macros can be found in many different applications such as Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word and of course Turbosoft’s TTWin.

What can a Macro do?
In the context of TTWin, virtually any program operation can be incorporated into a Macro. A Macro can be used to send a character, string or keypress to a host, to initiate or close a host connection, to launch a webpage or TTWin script, trigger any TTWin menu command and much, much more.

How does it work?
Consider an example where you might assign a Marco to a keyboard mapping or perhaps a toolbar menu item. When your end user presses the particular key or selects the toolbar button TTWin will execute your macro and perform a series of (complex) commands transparently to the end user.  This reduces the complexity required on the part of the end user, improves productivity by reducing both the effort involved with repetitive tasks and the possibility of user error, along with the obvious benefit of automating multi-step tasks.

How do I create a Macro?
The creation and editing of TTWin macros takes place entirely within the program itselfand in TTWin 4 we’ve introduced the Macro Assistant to make the job of macro creation that much easier. The tool is designed to simplify the macro creation process and ensure error free results.

The Macro Assistant can be launched from multiple areas in TTWin where the creation of a Macro might take place, for example, when mapping a Macro to a key under keyboard configuration.

Through a point and click interface a series of actions such as keystrokes, logic statements or a range of predefined functions may be selected and added to the Macro. This allows the user to build up as much complexity as is required without needing to directly edit the Macro text. Of course, directly editing or entering the macro language text is also possible should you have the need.

Why use a Macro?
Simply put, it’s easy. There may certainly be occasions when you require the power of a fully featured scripting language, or you need to seamlessly integrate terminal emulation into another application - for those occasions TTWin Basic or TTWin’s ActiveX component fit the bill. Often, though, Macros are more than adequate for automating and enhancing a terminal session and offer the quickest and simplest route to achieve your goals in automating host interaction.

For more detail on creating Macros and the full range of Macro options, refer to the chapter of the same name in the TTWin 4 manual, available from the Support Downloads section of this website.

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