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7th USENIX Tcl/Tk Conference
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T6pm Expect—Automating Interactive Applications  [Tutorials at a Glance]  [PDF format]
Don Libes, NIST

Who should attend: This tutorial is appropriate for all users, system administrators, and system programmers. Tcl knowledge is helpful. Attendees will come away with practical knowledge that can be immediately applied to solve problems and save time in your day-to-day UNIX use.

This tutorial explains how to automate interactive programs such as telnet, ftp, passwd, rlogin, and hundreds of other applications that normally require human interaction. Using Expect to automate these applications will allow users to speed up tasks and, in many cases, create solutions that would never have been considered before.

The tutorial will also cover how to test interactive programs and how to connect interactive applications together with no changes to the underlying programs or access to the original source-a common problem for legacy applications or sites without source code-but of value even with source code.

The tutorial will demonstrate how to wrap interactive programs with Motif-like front ends using Tk to control applications by buttons, scrollbars, and other graphic elements. Attendees will also learn how to reuse interactive programs in Web applications without rewriting existing code.

Both total and partial automation will be covered. Attention will be paid to showing how to automate and move interactive tasks into the background securely and reliably.

Don Libes is the creator of Expect as well as the author of its definitive text, Exploring Expect (O'Reilly, 1995). Don has written over 80 computer science papers and articles plus two classic UNIX books: Life with UNIX (Prentice Hall) and Obfuscated C and Other Mysteries (Wiley). In his day job, Don is a computer scientist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

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Last changed: 11 Nov. 1999 jr
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