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I have noticed that when selecting options (drop down menus, radio buttons etc) on some websites you see an ever more complex URL being created and then you can use that URL to access that website at a later date and go straight to the page with your desired options. Unfortunately on other websites the URL remains fixed and you appear to have no choice but to select the options all over again. I was wondering if there was some utility that would help automate this process.

EDIT: As a programmer myself I know for certain that it must be doable - you could record a kind of macro that monitored mouse movements and clicks, then "replay" this macro.

EDIT: Similarly, a utility could monitor windows messages to the browser and make use of that information too/instead.

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As a programmer yourself, you should realize that any macro that replayed a series of input events would stop working if the window or any of its contents moved. –  Hasaan Chop Apr 14 '10 at 15:32
    
@nsd: the macro could store values relative to the top left corner of the browser window. Agreed if the buttons and menus moved within the window, then this would cause trouble, but I am not expecting a solution to be 100% reliable. –  Mick Apr 14 '10 at 15:43
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5 Answers 5

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There's a free utility, AutoHotkey, that can send keystrokes and mouse events to other windows. Not real elegant or reliable if the contents change, but could serve your purpose if you're just looking to frequently fill out a form exactly the same way.

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Something like UrlParams can help you discover the POST variables so that you can attempt to write a script that will drive the browser for you.

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There are too many different ways that a website could work so a single tool wouldn't be able to handle them all. Some sites use parameters in the URL (aka HTTP GET method), some use parameters passed as a HTTP POST method. Sites using flash, or silverlight or sessions would also exist, and then there's sites that just use any kind of weird mechanism.

Your best best would be to post a question about a specific site and we could answer that.

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Those that update in the background without updating the URL will be using something like Flash or Ajax. I very much doubt there is a utility as you describe.

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I don't think there is an utility for this. Some sites use a rule-based rewriting engine to rewrite requested URLs on the fly. For more details see Apache Module mod_rewrite

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