Sunday, November 3, 2013

Automating IE

Here's the thing. I'm a Windows user - the demands of my main industry require it, and Windows was what there was, when I was getting started in the whole computer thing. And as much as we hates IE, precious, and as much as we likes our Chrome, the fact remains that Windows automation using COM/OLE is a pretty slick setup for integrating GUI stuff.

And yeah, the state of the art for browser automation is Selenium, but for the life of me I can't get Selenium to work with Chrome on my machine, and the documentation is horribly unhelpful in that regard.

The tool of choice has always been Win32::IE::Mechanize, but it has apparently been removed from CPAN - it hadn't been actively developed since 2005, so I suppose that's probably reasonable. Win32::IEAutomation exists but apparently ceased to work with IE7.

I would consider using WWW::Mechanize, obviously, except that for what I want to do, I need the browser visual, and that's not an option with the Mech (which also doesn't support JavaScript, so ....)

So yeah. At the moment, the options are poor. I'm wondering what normal people do. (Probably Selenium, honestly.) I may just get the last active IE::Mech, which is still on CPAN but not indexed; I've asked whether I could adopt it, which might be a mistake.  We'll see.

Update 2013-11-17: Turns out the primary maintainer of Win32::IE:Mechanize is now, ahem, me. Now all I have to do is make it work again, which is sadly no trivial task.

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