Re: what can you automate with Ruby?

On Windows, there are lots of options, depending on what program you
wish to automate (I’m not qualified to comment on other OS options).
Many programs have a COM (Win32OLE) interface that allows you to
remote-control it from Ruby. Some examples that come to mind are
Outlook, Excel, and Internet Explorer (you can find examples of these in
Ruby Garden). There is also a progrogram called AutoIt, which allows you
to launch programs, send keystrokes and mouse clicks, etc. to other
software. AutoIt has a COM interface, so that you could (for example)
make a call from Ruby to AutoIt via Win32OLE, telling AutoIt to send
Keystrokes to Notepad. One program I use, ThumbsPlus from Cerious
Software, doesn’t have a COM interface, but can be controlled via an
older technology called DDE, which you can access from one of the Win32
libraries in Ruby. Another program I have, Pagemaker, doesn’t have a COM
or DDE interface, but it has a scripting language, and I can control
Pagemaker by using Ruby to generate a script and launch Pakemaker with
the script as a parameter.

I hope this gives you some ideas. None of these techniques are not
unique to Ruby, but are very useful if you have a lot of automation to
do, especially when you are able to use more than one technique.