Dead simple GUI kit?
August 15, 2018 8:19 PM   Subscribe

Is there a super simple GUI builder that can just spit out links based on user input?

There is probably already an obvious answer to this but it eludes me..

I would like to build a utility for me and my coworkers. We have to deal with lots of links that are incredibly burdensomely long, but often we just have to change 5 characters of the link.

For example..


The only part that changes is the 12345.

Is there some way I can build a teeny tiny little GUI (for free or cheap) that I can enter 12345 and it will spit out the links above as hotlinks that are clickable? Obviously I could do it in excel but we already have umpteen million things open on our laptops. Id like to come up with a slick way to just be able to doubleclick an icon, enter my 12345 and then have it spit out the links that I can click on at my leisure. And Id like to be able to easily write over the 12345 and change it to 45678 without more clicking than necessary.

And I'd like to share it with my coworkers, so Id rather it wasn't some bizarre 3rd party shareware that will make people nervous.

Would it be possible to do this with a batch file?

Oh yeah....Windows 7.


posted by ian1977 to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The phrase you should search for is 'string manipulation'.
posted by Wild_Eep at 8:32 PM on August 15, 2018

Perhaps this, saved as a browser bookmark? (You might need to adjust this to your particular needs, but I think it's really high on the work/reward ratio.)
posted by Wild_Eep at 8:42 PM on August 15, 2018

It doesn't present a fancy GUI, but this batch file should do what you want:
@echo off
set /p id="Enter magic number: "
Save that as '[something].cmd' and then you should be able to run that by double-clicking it.

Bonus: if you want to have it automatically copy to the clipboard, replace
echo| clip
posted by Aleyn at 8:56 PM on August 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

How many different links are you dealing with? Do you want all the links at the same time or the ability to choose what link (in which case, if you have a lot of links, it's going to get unwieldy).

Here are a bunch of things that I use, that might be helpful:

1. Using Autohotkey, make a short hotstring for the beginning of the link you want, so you can just type in:


and it would autoexpand to:


Wherever you type it, in any application.

You can do a lot with Autohotkey, including building actual weird GUIs, but it may involve a bit of learning. With a little bit of work this can create a whole list of links if that's what you're after.

2. If you're talking about opening up that link in a browser, I know that Firefox already has bookmark keywords. So you could just assign the bookmark "http://blaaaaaaaa/beepbeep/barf/%s" to the keyword "blah". Then in your address bar, you just type in:

blah 12345

Which would take the bookmark, take whatever you typed after the keyword, and put it in place of the %s in the bookmark, opening the page:


Some other browsers might have it, or have a plugin that has this functionality.
posted by meowzilla at 8:57 PM on August 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

You can make a web page that does this with a few lines of Javascript:

Just replace the URLs in the "templates" list with whatever you want, click "run" to make a copy of the page with your updates, and then add "show" to the end of the link to get a bookmarkable version without the editor. (like this)
posted by teraflop at 9:25 PM on August 15, 2018 [2 favorites]

Excel? With a simple formula?
posted by jkaczor at 5:57 AM on August 16, 2018

Hoping not to use Excel cuz its too bloated of a thing to have open all the time. We already have too much crap open, including 17 other spreadsheets.
posted by ian1977 at 7:42 AM on August 16, 2018

In the spirit of things...

#!/usr/bin/env perl
# my file name is foobar

use Mojolicious::Lite;

get '/:newnum' => sub {
  my $c = shift;
  my $newnum = $c->param('newnum');
  $c->render(format => 'txt', template => 'index', newnum => $newnum);


@@ index.txt.ep
http://blablablablablablabla/doodoo/yadayada/<%= $newnum %>
http://blaaaaaaaa/beepbeep/barf/<%= $newnum %>
.../<%= $newnum %>
Install Perl, install the Mojolicious module (this will be no more trouble than doing anything else in the end).

Run: ./foobar daemon
and you point your browser to http://localhost/12345
and you will get your list.

Run: ./foobar get /12345
and it'll dump the same thing to your terminal.
posted by zengargoyle at 2:23 AM on August 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

This is exactly the kind of thing that tools such as TextExpander are great for. The biggest feature here is the quick 'fill in the blanks' system that'd be perfect for the 'long URL with a small dynamic part' situation you described.

TextExpander is probably not as cheap as you might like, but does have an online sharing functionality (and unfortunately monthly cost) that seems like it'd work for what you want. There are also probably tons of cheaper alternatives; my team and I used aText on Mac and it was only $5.
posted by destructive cactus at 9:44 AM on August 17, 2018

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