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Introduction to VB Script and Scripting for Windows Administrators

In many current technology areas there is often a need to automate tasks without the need to create a large application. This can be automating system administration tasks; dynamic web page creation; creating web page testing scripts. It is in this gap that scripting (or script programming) fits. Script programming within the Windows environment is very powerful. Scripts can ease the burden of a network administrator by automating repetitive and laborious tasks. They can make information from machines in the enterprise easily available. Scripts can access databases, text files and spreadsheets. They can make websites interactive and bring powerful functionality to the website designer's armory.

The creation of scripts, however, still needs knowledge of programming methodology - specifications, design, logical breakdown of the task and programming the script itself. This course will take the scripting novice, highlight the design and task analysis procedures, before going on to instruct in the use of VBScript to create scripts.

This course will start with the basics of using scripts to manipulate an object based environment. The course will then use VBScript to access and manipulate the WSH objects, the FileSystemObject, the Excel object model and the ADO objects for accessing databases. You will learn how to write scripts that automate applications, parse log files for specific information, map network drives, and install printers and applications, amongst others things. Due to the practical nature of scripting, there will be a large element of hands on lab work with an emphasis on creating reusable, useful sample scripts that can be employed in the work place.

The course will be delivered as an interactive lecture including many hands-on exercises.

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Learning Objectives

Delegates will learn how to:

  • Understand the thought processes of a programmer
  • Build basic specifications and flowcharts
  • Understand VBScript programming syntax
  • Understand the benefits of procedural programming
  • Understand objects
  • Identify the benefits of scripting tasks and use scripts to automate repetitive tasks
  • Write scripts that manage a users network printers and drives
  • Automate the running of various programs such as disk defragmenter
  • Edit the registry with scripts
  • Gather network information using scripts
  • Read, and write to log files
  • Write scripts that can be launched remotely
  • Identify the mechanisms used to access spreadsheets and databases
  • Use scripts to read and write information to spreadsheets and databases

Pre-Requisites

The course is written for administrators/IT professionals who have and would like to use VB Script to ease their administrative burden by automating repetitive tasks. The typical attendee will be an administrator/IT professional who is interested in examining how scripts can benefit and enhance their day-to-day environment

This course assumes no knowledge of VBScript mechanisms, but it does assume knowledge of the Windows interface.

Course Content

An Introduction To Programming

  • Explanation of what a program is: How to design a program; Understanding the Specification; Use Cases; Flowcharts and Psuedo Code; Logical layers; Development LifeCycle; Other Issues

VBScript Fundamentals

  • What is scripting?; Writing VBScript code; Variables and constants; Operators; Boolean Logic; Logical decision making; Looping statements

Procedural Programming

  • What is procedural programming; Subroutines and Functions; Writing and calling procedures; Scope; MsgBox and InputBox

Object Fundamentals

  • What is an object; Type libraries and classes; How to create and use objects; What are properties and methods, How to access properties and methods; How to identify the available objects in a library; How to identify the available properties and methods

Automating Applications and command line tools

  • Using the WSH Shell object to launch applications, control them and manipulate their output; Creating a ping function to check machine availability.

User Input through WSH

  • Getting user input through arguments and the standard input streams.

The Registry

  • Reading information from the registry; Deleting registry values and keys; Creating and modifying the registry.

Shortcuts

  • Creating shortcuts; Accessing the paths to special folders via script.

The Network Object

  • Mapping network drives; Enumerating mapped drives and installed printers; Installing printers via script.

Folders

  • Enumerating folders; Creating and deleting folders; Reading and modifying folder properties; Retrieving drive information.

Files

  • Enumerating files; Creating and deleting files; Reading and writing to files; Sending emails via the FileSystemObject.

Spreadsheets

  • Using the Excel objects to read from and write to spreadsheets.

Databases

  • Using the ActiveX Data Object model to access databases; System DSNs; Reading and Writing to SQL databases.

Appendix VBScript Language

  • Functions provided in VBScript; string, date and numeric functions; Conversion Functions; Is Functions

Appendix WMI

  • Using simple scripts to utilise Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI); The WMI scriptomatic tool.

Appendix Introduction to ADSI

  • Using simple scripts to utilise Active Directory Services Interface (ADSI); The ADSI scriptomatic tool
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