RPA 2019: Sikuli vs AutoHotKey (AHK)

RPA 2019: Sikuli vs AutoHotKey (AHK)

What is the difference between Sikuli and AutoHotkey? It’s huge. Both are good tools but they are not similar all.

In this post we compare Sikuli with AHK and describe when to use what tool.

Sikuli vs AutoHotKey (AHK)

The table below compares the key features of these two well-known automation tools. As third option the table includes Kantu, a computer-vision and AI powered lightweight RPA tool.

Feature Sikuli AutoHotKey Kantu
Supported Platforms Win, Mac, Linux Win only Win, Mac, Linux
Open-Source yes yes yes
Security Rating Very Good Very Good Very Good
Openness Very high Very high Very high
Desktop Automation      
Image Recognition Yes Only very basic Yes
Text Recognition (OCR) Yes (medium accuracy) No Yes (high accuracy)
Keyboard Shortcut No Yes Yes (via other extensions)
Web Automation      
Supported Browser No IE Chrome, Firefox
Browser Recorder No No Yes
Selenium IDE compatible No No Yes
Scripting      
Script language JPython AHK Script Many (API)
Advanced Scheduling With external tools With external tools With external tools

In addition to comparing Sikuli and AutoHotKey, the table above contains the Kantu specs, a popular lightweight alternative that works visually and supports Mac and Linux, too.

At a9t9 we work in the computer vision, AI and usability space, so this is where we focus our comparison.

Security

All tools in this comparison are open-source, so you can easily check that no information is send anywhere. We require a software to be Open-Source to be eligible for a very good security rating.

Desktop Automation

Desktop automation is sometimes also called “RDA” (Robotic Desktop Automation). This section rates the usefulness of the tool to automate tasks on the users desktop. Note that AHK can only automate tasks on a Windows desktop, whereas Sikuli and Kantu works on Mac and Linux desktops as well.

Sikuli vs SikuliX

What is the difference between Sikuli and SikuliX?

This is easy: The new version of Sikuli is called SikuliX.

The original Sikuli project is no longer maintained (it stopped it V1.0rc3). So when we - and most other websites - talk about Sikuli, we actually mean SikuliX. SikuliX is currently at version V1.1.4.

Web Automation

Web automation means Browser Automation. It is the ability to automate tasks directly in the web browser. Typical tasks include form filling, data up- and download and web scraping, the extraction from information from websites.

AHK supports only support the old Internet Explorer (IE). Meanwhile many websites no longer work in IE. And Sikuli has no browser support at all. It is not suitable for web automation tasks.

Scripting

All automation tools have one thing in common: Unless the task or test to automate is very basic, you must expect to have to “script” or “program” part of the solution. AHK is by design a scripting languages. The app was no real user interface except an editor. Sikuli can be scripted in JPython, an older version of Python. Kantu exposes a command line API that allows you to use it with any programming or scripting language, for example (in alphabetic order) C#, Java, Node.JS, PowerShell, Python, VB.NET, VBS and to combine it with other tools like AutoHotKey.

Sikuli and AHK IDE

Sikuli has a nice IDE that allows you to create the visual macros. The main drawback is that Sikuli requires you to install the Java runtime

AHK is a scripting languages and the IDE is a essentially an editor. This is the same as you find in more famous, proper scripting languages like PowerShell or Python.

The Sikuli IDE looks like an editor, but it has some extra features for managing screenshots and testing the computer vision commands.

The AHK IDE looks like an editor and is an editor. But the project AutoGUI added an IDE to AHK. The screenshot above shows AutoGUI.

The Kantu IDE can also be described as editor plus support for managing screenshots (computer vision) and text recogntion (OCR). Its design is similar to the Selenium IDE. Kantu focuses on computer-vision and AI powered automation. For everything else, Kantu can be combined with any scripting or programming language like Powershell or Python.

A key differences between Kantu and Sikuli or AHK is that Kantu is not only a desktop automation tool but has also very good web automation support. So if you need to automate a task inside a web browser, the choice is clear, use Kantu.

RPA Market Overview

For more RPA Market Overview blog posts please see

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