Five hasn't been a very famous number. The number 3 hit it big because of such titles as "Three Men and a Baby" and "The Three Amigos." The number 7 hit it big when "The Magnificent Seven" came to theaters. Although the movies "Five Easy Pieces" and "The Five Senses" entertained audiences, they failed to bring the number 5 into the spotlight. But all that is about to change. The number 5 is about to hit the big time, at least for scripting enthusiasts, because of five exciting changes that are coming your way the next few months.
The five changes are part of Windows IT Pro's effort to become a one-stop resource for all your scripting needs. We want to help make your job easier (and perhaps even a bit more fun) by providing the code, techniques, tools, and information you need to automate tasks in the Windows environment. Here's a sneak preview of what's in store for you.
1. Code Central
Code Central (http://scripting.windowsitpro.com) is Windows IT Pro's new searchable storehouse of scripts and applications for automating all types of components (e.g., Windows OSs, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Exchange Server) in a Windows environment. Scheduled to debut in October 2005, Code Central consists of scripts that visitors have provided and published scripts that technical editors have reviewed.
As a visitor to Code Central, you can post your favorite code and copy code that other visitors have posted. By sharing your code, you can help fellow scripters automate those tasks you've already conquered. And the next time you need to automate a new task, you can take advantage of the code that other scripters have provided, thereby saving time and effort.
As a Windows Scripting Solutions subscriber, you can also easily search for and copy scripts that Windows Scripting Solutions has published over the years. Up until now, trying to find a script that performs a specific task or that's written in a specific language hasn't been easy. That will all be changing. In Code Central, you can search for scripts by criteria such as a scripting language (e.g., VBScript, Perl), a scripting technology (e.g., Windows Management Instrumentation—WMI), the name of a particular scripter, or the type of task you want to automate. Plus, you can search for scripts that have been published in one of the other Windows IT Pro print publications (Windows IT Pro, SQL Server Magazine, Exchange & Outlook Administrator, and Windows IT Security) without leaving the Code Central site.
No matter whether a script is from a visitor or a publication, it has an information box that lists what you need to know to use it. For example, the information box lists the OSs on which the script works, specifies the programs or utilities the script uses, and includes any notes from the author about the script. And after you've copied and tried some scripts, you can comment on and rate them just like you comment on and rate articles in Windows Scripting Solutions.
2. Updated Windows Scripting Solutions
IT professionals are increasingly being asked to assume multiple roles in their companies. For example, IT professionals might have to set up and maintain not only the Windows servers and workstations in their networks but also SQL Server implementations. Currently, Windows Scripting Solutions features articles about scripts that you can use to automate tasks in the various components (e.g., Windows Server 2003, Exchange, Microsoft Outlook) in a Windows environment. However, one area that hasn't been covered is using T-SQL to automate SQL Server tasks. Starting in the December 2005 issue, Windows Scripting Solutions will regularly cover this topic.
Windows Scripting Solutions will also feature scripts written in a wider variety of scripting languages. According to a recent Windows Scripting Solutions Instant Poll, 45 percent of the respondents use Microsoft scripting languages (e.g., VBScript, Windows shell) and third-party scripting languages (e.g., Perl, KiXtart). Thus, Windows Scripting Solutions will regularly feature articles about scripts written in Perl and other third-party scripting languages.
Another important scripting area that Windows Scripting Solutions will cover is Monad, the code name for the Microsoft Command Shell (MSH) in Windows Vista and Longhorn Server. Monad is a radically new command-line and scripting environment. As Jeffrey Snover, Monad's software architect, said, "Monad makes it simple to do simple things and possible to do complex things. You'll avoid that phenomenon where your tool runs out of gas and you have to run down to Borders to pick up a new set of books to get your problem solved." To read more notable quotes from Jeffrey and learn more about Monad, go to the Microsoft Script Center's "Interview with a Scripter" at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/scriptcenter/resources/interviews/snover.mspx#ebaa. Also check out the Windows IT Pro column IT Pro Perspective, "Monad Is Cool; DPM Is Done," August 2005, InstantDoc ID 46985
3. New Digital Edition of Windows Scripting Solutions
If you work or live overseas or you travel a lot, you might be excited to learn that you'll be able to subscribe to Windows Scripting Solutions in electronic format rather than print format. The new digital edition of Windows Scripting Solutions will look just like the print version, except that it's delivered to your Inbox instead of your mailbox. When you subscribe to the digital edition of Windows Scripting Solutions, the code that goes with the articles is always just a click away.
4. Scripting Central
Windows IT Pro is now publishing a new free email newsletter—Scripting Central—that can help you keep on top of scripting news and events. You can also have a little fun in the process by participating in scripting contests and letting your voice be heard in the "Scripting Scuttlebutt" letters section. This useful but entertaining email newsletter also provides practical tips for writing code and includes application-specific sections, such as an Exchange scripting section and a SQL Server scripting section. To subscribe to this monthly newsletter, go to the Email Newsletter Subscription Center (http://www.windowsitpro.com/email).
5. Updated Developer .NET UPDATE
The fifth and final change that you'll see in the upcoming months is an updated version of Developer .NET UPDATE, a free email newsletter that helps readers get the most out of their .NET development environment. At this point, you might be wondering why developer-related material is being mentioned in a scripting-related publication. Well, times are changing, and the lines between scripting and development are becoming blurred.
For example, as I mentioned previously, Vista and Longhorn Server will feature Monad. Monad is an administrative-automation environment built on the Windows .NET Framework. As a result, you'll find .NET development concepts in Monad. One example is that Monad features commands called Cmdlets, and Cmdlets are instances of .NET classes. So, the more you know about the .NET Framework, the easier it will be to use Monad.
Currently, Developer .NET UPDATE provides practical tips on how to develop .NET applications for use in the Windows environment. This email newsletter, which is published twice a month, also keeps readers informed about new .NET technology from Microsoft and the latest .NET products on the market. In the upcoming months, Developer .NET UPDATE will be updated. Among the changes will be coverage of .NET scripting. To subscribe to Developer .NET UPDATE, go to the Email Newsletter Subscription Center (http://www.windowsitpro.com/email).
Number 5 Is Alive and Kicking Butt
As you can see, five is a lucky number for scripters. It means that you'll soon be able to take advantage of the scripts in the Code Center, take an insightful yet lighthearted look at scripting in Scripting Central, and learn about .NET scripting in the updated Developer .NET UPDATE. In future issues of Windows Scripting Solutions, you'll also have the chance to learn about new scripting technologies such as Monad and perhaps learn a new scripting language such as T-SQL. And you'll even be able to learn about them on your desktop or in your favorite reading spot at home or work.