Tablet PC – A Student's Perspective

One Note, Note Taking and Powertoys

The Automation Hangover

Posted by anirudhsaraf on August 26, 2008

I got back to college yesterday after my twelve week long internship at Microsoft, and its difficult snapping back into “college-mode”.

I walked into SOURCe ( the student run tech support center) where I work. A routine we go through every year is to go around campus and register the mac addresses of the new students into our system. The steps to do this is to have the user log into the university portal, navigate to the student resources tab, click on the add mac address which reloads the page to show a form  where we add the mac-address. While earlier I saw it as a routine task, now it seemes like 3 unnecessary clicks along with the trouble of launching the command prompt and getting the mac address from there. Mutliply that by 700 new students and its a lot of work.

Instantly my mind began churning, looking to automate the process so that all the user does is log on to the portal and voila his mac address is registered.  Now luckily on my long plane ride back I was reading up on the DOM and the web browser control as research for one of the powertoys in the pipeline, and so it hit me – just as we automate testing OneNote or desktop software there must be a way to automate testing websites !! I fired up google, typed in automating websites and other related terms to come up with a simple solution using the web Browser control and DOM which registers the users mac address as soon as he logs into the portal through my software.

It will be put to test next week as the freshmen start pouring in. Here’s hoping they have the .NET framework installed.

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