Overview

Author: Simon Clausen

Windows Scripting is easy. This may sound like a bold statement to the non-code crunchers among us, but spend a few hours playing with it; get your feet wet and I think you will agree. You certainly don’t have to be a programmer either, although if you have programmed before most of the concepts will seem very familiar.

As this is supposed to be a quick overview lets get a few of the basics out of the way first. Windows Script Host, or WSH for hereon in, can be thought of in the same way as old DOS batch files, because it allows you to directly script and automate parts of the core operating system using plain text files. By using these scripts you can automate anything from the Windows registry, through to files and shortcuts, through to network printers and shares, and because of the extensible nature of the language there is practically no limit to what it can do.

WSH is really made up of three main components:

  1. The core host that ties all the pieces together;
  2. The scripting engines that provides the scripting languages, such as VBScript, JScript and PerlScript
  3. The Scripting Hosts that actually execute the scripts, two are shipped as standard WSCRIPT.EXE (a Windows GUI version) and CSCRIPT.EXE (a text mode command-line version)
The VBScript and Jscript languages are both supported out-of-the-box and the remainder of this article will focus on them, particularily VBScript. Although other languages can be "plugged-in" so if you’re interested in finding out about some of the other scripting languages available you may want to visit http://www.activestate.com/ (Perl) and http://www.python.org/ (Python).

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