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A minimal JavaScript library for automating practically anything


A minimal JavaScript library (3.2k minified) for automating practically anything in Javascript.

Annotated Source Code | Unit Tests

The purpose of an Automator is to accept an Array of steps, and to automate them for you. It's that simple.

// Press right, sleep for 1000ms, press left, sleep for 1000ms
var automator = new Automator();
automator.automate([ 'right', 1000, 'left', 1000 ]);

While trying to provide some useful defaults, the Automator leaves the behavior of each step entirely up to you. The behavior of a step is determined by the typeof the step (number, string, function, object). Automator attempts to provide some useful default functionality:

  • Number: Sleep for N milliseconds with setTimeout
  • String: Simulate a key press for the given key. Supports letters, numbers, arrows, and a series of standard keys (ctrl, alt, enter, etc.). Please refer to the full documentation for details.
  • Function: Execute the given function. If the function returns a jQuery Promise, the following step will be deferred until the Promise is resolved.
  • Object: No default behavior provided

The behavior of each of these can be customized through the options passed to the Automator constructor:

// Lets treat numbers as seconds instead of milliseconds
var automator = new Automator({
    doNumber: function (n) {
        var dfd = new Automator.MiniDeferred();
        setTimeout(dfd.resolve, n * 1000);
        return dfd.promise();
    // doFunction: function (func) { ... },
    // doString: function (str) { ... },
    // doObject: function (obj) { ... }
automator.automate([ 'right', 1, 'left', 1 ]);

// Alternatively, you can proxy the default functions
var automator = new Automator({
    doNumber: function (n) {
        return Automator.doNumber(n * 1000);
automator.automate([ 'right', 1, 'left', 1 ]);


Want to run steps repeatedly? Automator supports repetition at the step level for string values:

// Any string ending in /x[0-9]+/ will be repeated that many times, so:
automator.automate([ 'rightx3', 1000, 'leftx3', 1000 ]);

// Is exactly equivalent to
automator.automate([ 'right', 'right', 'right', 1000, 'left', 'left', 'left', 1000 ]);

Want to run full automations repeatedly? This is just as easy:

function sequenceCb(i) {
    console.log("Done with iteraton " + i);

// The optional second parameter to automate() is how many times to run the sequence
// The optional third parameter is a callback function to run after each sequence

// Run the full sequence 3 times
automator.automate([ 'right', 1000, 'left', 1000 ], 3, sequenceCb);

Want to do something at the very end of the entire, potentially repeated, sequence? The automate() function returns a Promise-esque object you can hook into:

// Run the full sequence 3 times
automator.automate([ 'right', 1000, 'left', 1000 ], 3).then(function () {
  console.log("I'm all done!");

Note: This Promise-esque object is by no means a full-featured promise object. In order to avoid dependencies, Automator has it's own Automator.MiniDeferred implementation that simply implements basic resolve/reject/done/fail/always callbacks. If you would like to use a more full-featured implementation, simply specify that implemnentation in options.Deferred. The Deferred object is expected to implement the same API as Automator.MiniDeferred. For example:

var automator = new Automator({
    Deferred: $.Deferred

a.automate(['left', 'right'])
// Returns a jQuery Promise


Want to be asynchronous? No problem. Any step in an Automator sequence that returns a jQuery Deferred-esque object will cause the following step to wait upon resolution or rejection of the promise.

var automator = new Automator();

function doAsync () {
    var dfd = new $.Deferred();
    // Do something asynchronous and resolve deferred
    return dfd.promise();

// The 'right' step will not execute until after the asynchronous operation has completed.
automator.automate([doAsync, 'right']);

Interim steps

If you need to execute a few dynamic steps, potentially ones that rely on the state of your applicaton or a previous step, just return an array from an Automator step. This array of steps will be inserted into the sequence immediately after the current step.

var automator = new Automator();

function addSteps () {
    return ['up', 'down'];

// The full sequence will run as: right, up, down, left
automator.automate(['right', addSteps, 'left']);

Pass-through values

Any return values from Automator steps that are not a Promise or an Array will simply be passed through to the next step in the process.

var automator = new Automator();

function createVal () {
    return Math.random();

function handleVal(randomNum) {
    console.log("I got the random number: " + randomNum);

automator.automate([createVal, handleVal]);

Additional configuration options

  • debug [false] - Boolean value to turn on Automator debugging messages in the console
  • stepDelay [0] - Milliseconds to sleep between steps. Because numbers are treated as delays, this delay is ignored before and after numeric steps.
  • iterationDelay [0] - Milliseconds to sleep between sequence iterations

A note on key events

The default behavior for strings (left, right, etc.) is to mimic a keydown event. For simplicity, keyup events are not sent, but it's very easy to provide a keyup event after a delay. Something like the following would work:

var automator = new Automator({
    doString: function(str) {
        var keyCode = Automator.keyCodeMap[str],
            dfd = new Automator.MiniDeferred();

        if (typeof keyCode !== 'number') { return; }

        // Inherit the standard keydown behavior
        Automator.simulateKeyEvent('keydown', keyCode);

        // Perform the keyup event after a delay
        // then tell Automator we're done with this step
        setTimeout(function () {
            Automator.simulateKeyEvent('keyup', keyCode);
        }, 100);

        // Force subsequent steps to wait for the keyup event
        return dfd.promise();

Anticipated, but unimplemented functionality

  • Lots more cross browser testing. Currently developed and tested in Chrome 31