If you require variable speed for the actuator you will get best results using a H-drive with suitable voltage/current ratings. If you just want full speed,a couple of relays can perform the polarity reversal. You need to find out if your specific actuator has internal end of travel stop switches installed. If not you need to watch out for trying to drive the actuator past it's two physical travel stops.
As far as being able to determine shaft position you will need some kind of physical feedback signal to tell your sketch where in it's travel the actuator is. Some actuators like this offer a optional internal pot to track travel and provide you will a simple 3 wire connection to the pot to measure the travel. And finally I've seen some like this offer a optional 'servo interface' that includes the internal electronics to allow one to interface the actuator just like a simple R/C servo control which allows full position control using the standard arduino servo library code. OF course all options cost more so no free lunch around here.