Daily automation: taking screenshots unleashed

By default, UIAutomation saves a screenshot if a cmdlet fails. This behavior is set by the default settings:

ipmo [path]\UIAutomation.dll

The default folder for storing screenshots is user’s TEMP. Taking a screenshot can be initiated manually, below is how to do it:

ipmo [path]\UIAutomation.dll

# saves the desktop
Save-UIAScreenshot -Description 123

The former line of code creates a file in the TEMP folder, for example: %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Temp\20129261311418.bmp. The latter creates a file with more recognizable name: %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Temp\20129261315161_123.bmp. Wanted better file names? Consider the following piece of code:

ipmo [path]\UIAutomation.dll

# saves the desktop to a specified file
Save-UIAScreenshot -Path c:\1 -Name 20120921_1.bmp

After we have discussed where we can save a screenshot, it’s time to discuss what can be saved. All the samples above saved the desktop – a reasonable choice if you don’t exactly know what the situation is when test fails. We can save a window, to the TEMP folder or to a folder of your choice:

ipmo [path]\UIAutomation.dll

# saves a window
Start-Process calc -PassThru | Get-UIAWindow | Save-UIAScreenshot

# saves a window to the specified file
Start-Process calc -PassThru | Get-UIAWindow | Save-UIAScreenshot -Path c:\1 -Name 20120921_2.bmp

# throws an exception 'Save-UIAScreenshot : File 'c:\1\20120921_2.bmp' already exists'
Start-Process calc -PassThru | Get-UIAWindow | Get-UIAButton -n 1 | Save-UIAScreenshot -Path c:\1 -Name 20120921_2.bmp

It’s not cmdlet’s concern if the file you specified already exists, so that it’s up to you to resolve such situations as shown in the code snipped above.

Finally, we can save any control, with or without a handle. The legend says that a control with handle is a window even if it’s a mere control. Times changes, controls without handles are now seen by UIAutomation as windows too. Here we get a button’s screenshot:

ipmo [path]\UIAutomation.dll

# saves a button to the specified file
Start-Process calc -PassThru | Get-UIAWindow | Get-UIAButton -n 1 | Save-UIAScreenshot -Path c:\1 -Name 20120921_3.bmp

The advantage of automation (as well as of UIAutomation) is that you can automate even already automated things. Ten screenshots at a time? It’s possible, below we produce screenshots for each of numeric buttons:

ipmo [path]\UIAutomation.dll

# generates a screenshot for each numeric button (ten screenshots)
Start-Process calc -PassThru | Get-UIAWindow | Get-UIAButton -SearchCriteria @{automationid='13*'} | Save-UIAScreenshot

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