Copy Data from one Web Page to Another

I would like some suggestions as to how to best achieve the following. This is a tedious job that I and my colleagues need to often do.

We have a web based system, that is a bit broken and for whatever reason the developers won’t fix it. We have some data on one page, name, address etc, and this needs to be copied to a different web page on the same system. At the moment it’s a case of copying to a text file, then loading the new page and pasting them in individually.

Any ways of automating this? Hopefully, a simple enough way that my colleagues could use it too. We have a mixture of macs and pcs, ideally a solution that can run on both, failing that Mac would be the first choice.

Tools like Keyboard Maestro for the Mac and Autohotkey for Windows should be able to automate that. Effectively replaying macros that carry out the manual steps that the user would. The trickiest part is probably the navigation of the system, waiting for things to load before trying to use them, etc.

There are tools like Fake browser for the Mac and testing tools like Selenium that could give you an approach that might be more reliable, but they are less generic in purpose than the tools above.

Hope that gives you some places to start looking.

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Internal app or third-party product? I would strongly suggest you and your colleagues start by gathering hard metrics for a couple weeks: exactly how many minutes each of you spends each day manually copying and pasting data from one page to the other, and manually verifying that you’ve copied all data across correctly.

Those accummulated minutes are then trivially converted into a $$$ per-week/month/year labor cost plus a risk estimate (chances of someone copying and pasting the wrong bit of data into the wrong field). That hard information can be passed up your line managers in hopes that someone in authority gets annoyed at the wastage and pushes back on those deadweight devs to do their jobs because their negligence is costing your business real money.

The risk to yourselves of cobbling together unsanctioned automation to work around those idiots’ damage is that should your automation malfunction then you will personally be on the hook for the consequences. (Once you add automation, its users will soon stop manually checking its results, so risk of mistakes going through increases.) Even if your automation works 100%, you diverged from your employer’s process without prior authorization. It’s different if your own line manager approves your shadow IT in writing (make sure to keep a safe copy), as then that responsibility falls on them.

If you must press on [sic], a hotkey macro app as slyumer suggests is your safest bet, as you can claim it’s only repeating exactly what you are already doing. (I’d avoid anything that requires the writing of code without approval.) Although it doesn’t speak great of your IT department if they allow users to install arbitrary apps on work computers for themselves.