A Guide To Tools Available On the
Ahhh, my first article. <smile>
There are many excellent scripting resources available to you on the web.
This article will list several that I find useful in the day-to-day needs
of a system administrator needing to automate tasks. It is by far not a complete
list, because new sites with great information pop up every day. For my first
article I wanted to let everyone know the tools and places I go for help when
I need it.
The Microsoft.com Offerings
Microsoft’s Own Network
Here is probably the first (and best) location to start at for your scripting
needs. There is Microsoft’s Developers Network (MSDN) located at http://msdn.microsoft.com
that can lead you to most of your answers you may have about usage, syntax,
and the like. First check out http://msdn.microsoft.com/scripting.
Through this page, you can find help for vbscript, windows script, WMI and
others. Links to download the latest engines of each are freely available
Another recent addition to Microsoft’s free tools are the Scriptomatics for both WMI and ADSI. Each Scriptomatic
allows you to select examples of pre-written scripts that you can copy and
paste into your own. Better yet is the feature that allows you to run the
example directly from the Scriptomatic. This allows you to examine the output
and determine if that is what you need or not. When executing any of the items
from the Scriptomatics it usually runs against the local machine.
You can find the Scriptomatics below:
What Kind of News Do You Get From a Newsgroup?
Microsoft’s newsgroups are very insightful for any Microsoft topic you may
be interested in. These are easily accessible on the web and posts are made
constantly to them.
Other Microsoft Links
Here are some other links to Microsoft owned pages that can help out when you
are in a pinch:
5.6 + VBScript
Windows 2000 Scripting Guide
Some Good Web Resources
The Labmice Are Free!
Finding good reliable resources on the web are not always hard, but the folks
at Labmice (http://www.Labmice.net) are
very helpful. They are a better Windows 2000/XP/2003 resource than anything,
but they have many quality scripting links. (One of
my favorite sites for when I setup Microsoft’s Systems Management Server.)
Who’s Forum Is This?
http://www.MyItForum.com, run by Rod
Trent, is probably my favorite place to go outside Microsoft’s sites. Subscribe
for a daily email to stay on top of all the latest news, forum requests, and
goodies available on the web. MyItForum’s daily newsletter is great not only
for news, but for links to scripts on a daily basis.
www.Google.com may be the one source where
I found everything I have listed in this article. If you can’t find it, google it. Can you believe people actually
talk about “Googling” something? PC Magazine printed an article in their latest
installment of 20 Google Tools and Tips You Never Nnew Existed. I like
google because if I have a question lets say on a particular
WMI class like WIN32_PingStatus, I can enter that into the search criteria and
it takes me directly to Microsoft’s site on that particular class, quicker than
I could browse for it on Microsoft.com!
Books and Magazines
Windows & .NET Magazine go beyond the world of scripting and into system
administration. I enjoy the articles they have and the scripting examples they
Not worth the money in my opinion. There are examples here of scripts that
mostly perform obscure functions. Not worth the $100+ you shell out for a flyer
that comes out once a month and has only about 6-8 pages of material.
Now here is an excellent book. It is great for several reasons. First it is
an easy read. The book itself is well laid out and covers the basics of scripting.
Secondly, every example in the book has two versions, one vbscript and one jscript
that do the exact same thing. Woah, you mean to tell me that I can pick up two
languages with one book easily? No, very easily.
Great reviews, but I haven’t had the chance to pick this book apart completely.
Check back with me for an update.
I haven’t found much use for this book ever since the WMIScriptomatic came
out. So I really don’t see the need in it, but I will leave it for you to decide.
It is more for the heavy user of WMI.
What more can you ask from O’Reilly in learning vbscript? Excellent for beginners
and I would consider it a must have. You can fly through it and pick up a lot
on the way quickly.
Great for breaking down the Windows Script Host object model
and its abilities. Published in 1999, it still gives you everything you
need to know about Windows Script host capabilities.
The Scripting Environment
Notepad Can Get the Job Done, But Editplus Rocks
I was first told about Editplus (available from www.Editplus.com) from Greg
Chapman. (I guess you can consider me his “Padawan Learner” for all the
Star Wars fans out there) Editplus is a very rich text editor that allows you
to load syntaxes for any type of programming you may do. You can also (easily)
create your own syntaxes, templates, and auto-completion files in order to make
your job easier. For the syntaxes, templates, and auto-completion files that
do not come pre-installed, you can go to Editplus’ website and download the
ones you want. Editplus can also handle extremely large file sizes, so if you
are examining log files, this is a great tool.
That’s all for now and hope you enjoyed my first installment. Next month I
plan on covering automated installations of the Windows operating system. See