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What's the Best Software to Write 'Bots?


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I've used ME for years with very nice results. It's always done exactly what I needed it to, but over the last several months I have changed my focus and feel like it is time to (as they say) "move up to the next level".

 

Up to this point, I've used ME to post on Craigslist, with an occasional experiment here & there, but now I'm doing internet marketing, and see an opportunity to make good money using "Bots" to do certain tasks.

 

Most IM'ers in this situation hire someone to make these 'bots, or they make them themselves. I've read about a software called "Ubot", and maybe a few more. I'm reluctant to use these because I suspect these are dumbed-down softwares and make lack the power that I may require someday. I do not intend to make a career of programming, so I want to get the right software/platform on the first try, rather than spending time & energy learning to use a software that turns out to be limited compared to something else.

 

And, in case anyone is wondering, another reason to not hire someone else to write these 'bots (besides cost), is that you then empower someone else with an awareness of your niche. Your programmer could then become your biggest competitor, and you've paid him to write the tools that deprives you of your income. However unlikely that may seem, I'm not willing to live with that "uneasy feeling", and would rather have the security of knowing that I am the only one that knows about the possible economic opportunities I'm trying to take advantage of, because I've written the software myself.

 

So that's what I want to do, and why. The real question is how. I've read about Java, Visual Basic, and a few others but do not know enough about any of them to have any sense of what the differences are between them, and why one might be better for my purposes than another.

 

It does occur to me that ME might be all that I need, and that the skills I've developed in writing these Macros might also serve to write these 'bots, but my concern is that I may come to a point where I need ME to do something that it cannot do, and I will have spent time & energy getting myself to a place that turns out to be a "dead end".

 

Thanks in advance for any help.

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I have had a growing demand for various bots, mainly scrapers, that have sprung from clients who have experience with MEP. After deciding on a language to learn (Been decades since I learned my last) I can tell you that it’s well worth the investment in time. MEP is great for many users who have simple short lists of things to do. But in order to make it ‘industrial strength’ and faultless for thousands of records it needs about ten times more code and a proper compile app is really the way to go.

 

Then the question was which to learn. I decided on VB.NET for several reasons: It’s consider easier syntax to learn with the caveat that it’s now OOP so you need to make that mental leap; It’s very similar to VBA used in Office macros, VBScript used in various administrative roles and web pages; is easy to jump into web languages like ASP. However my professional programmer friends look down on me as it’s largely considered a hobbyist language and they use things like C#. But ever since .NET it’s a proper language in terms of its capabilities and performance. Also it uses the same IDE in Visual Studio so you get all the same development tools. And it’s free from MS.

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...I decided on VB.NET for several reasons: It’s consider easier syntax to learn with the caveat that it’s now OOP so you need to make that mental leap; It’s very similar to VBA used in Office macros, VBScript used in various administrative roles and web pages; is easy to jump into web languages like ASP. However my professional programmer friends look down on me as it’s largely considered a hobbyist language and they use things like C#.

All I can say is your professional programmer friends are quite ignorant! The only major difference of note between the capabilities of C# and VB.NET is that the former allows you to write non-managed code, something which I imagine 99% of programmers should not need, or ever be allowed, to do. You know, non VB programmers have always looked down on, and sneered at, those who do use VB, and I've never understood why. Perhaps it has to do with the perception (for which there is, or used to be, some justification) that VB programmers come from the ranks of the hobbyist programmer, while C# are more likely to have learnt their skills at university, or in some more professional manner.

 

I used to look down on VB myself, because I know there was a far superior language that unfortunately never became mainstream, namely APL.

But that's another story.

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I agree. I enjoy challenging 'real' programmers to tell me how VB.NET is inferior and the only arguably valid reason is the ability to compile as unmanaged. This can be handy when one can't force the user's to upgrade to the latest version of .NET. And I think a lot of the old guard consider managed code (relies on a VM to compile JIT) weak since it depends on something like .NET be installed. But from what I read much of the world is going to managed because there are some distinct advantages to that and the performance difference is nil in most cases.

 

It all goes back to my complaint about the credence given to the term 'professional'. Just because they do it for a living doesn't mean they're experts who know how to do things properly. Professional car stereo installers for instance. I can't count how many automotive electrical systems I've troubleshot whose flaw was a 'professional' stereo or alarm installation. And it seems the programming world is even worse.

 

But whatever you do, don't take up Delphi, it's the worst! Just kidding, just kidding ;)

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...It all goes back to my complaint about the credence given to the term 'professional'. Just because they do it for a living doesn't mean they're experts who know how to do things properly. Professional car stereo installers for instance. I can't count how many automotive electrical systems I've troubleshot whose flaw was a 'professional' stereo or alarm installation. And it seems the programming world is even worse.

I could write reams on this! And I couldn't agree with you more (even though I would have called myself a professional programmer).

The causes are many and various:

- The IT world is heavily populated with mediocrity

- Many in the IT world have no business experience, and don't know how to think for themselves

- Today the demands are such that a programmer is often required to know many languages; but to what level, and how much real knowledge is there?

 

I actually spent most of my professional consultancy days fighting IT departments on behalf of users. Nowadays it's much harder, because IT seems to have conquered the world.

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  • 1 month later...

I used to look down on VB myself, because I know there was a far superior language that unfortunately never became mainstream, namely APL.

But that's another story.

 

I cut some of my programming teeth in the late '70's with APL on a IBM "Three-Sickly", then a 370, "deep in the Hudson Valley" of NY. I well recall writing "apps" where I could accomplish more in a dozen characters (granted maybe some overstrikes) than any of my Fortran, RPG, COBOL, PL/1 lovin' friends could in 12 LINES or more!!

 

I sorely miss APL... I've probably forgotten more APL than 98 of 100 current day programmers will ever know. <Sigh!>.

 

Yeah, and I know what an acoustic coupler is too, kids! And I know why it was helpful to keep a bath towel handy when running one in a noisey environemnt! ;-)

 

"Ahhhh, the good old days..."

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