How to Get Started Writing Articles About Your Scripts


Scripting Pro VIP is a publication by the people who write scripts, for the people who write scripts. Thus, we encourage people in the IT trenches to submit articles about the scripts they use in their jobs because these scripts can often help others.

For some people, the idea of writing an article for the first time might seem more intimidating than writing a script for the first time. Typically, the most difficult part is getting started. If you've ever thought about writing an article but weren't sure how to proceed, I hope the following information will help you take that leap from thinking about writing to putting pen to paper, so to speak.

As you probably know, Scripting Pro VIP publishes articles about scripts and code snippets (functions, subroutines, or other blocks of code) written in a variety of scripting languages, including VBScript, JScript, PowerShell, and Windows shell scripting (.bat and .cmd). After you decide which script or code snippet you'd like to write about, follow these steps:

1. Decide whether you want to write a shorter or longer article about your code. Scripting Pro VIP publishes two types of articles: Reader to Reader (R2R) articles and full-length feature articles. R2R articles are short (typically under 1,200 words), whereas feature articles are longer (typically anywhere from 1,500 to 3,000 words). Most people start out by writing an R2R article, but that doesn't mean you have to. You should write whatever you feel most comfortable with.

2. Download the R2R article and feature article templates by clicking the Download the Code Here link. Using these templates isn't required, but they can help you include the information that we need, such as the title of the article and how to contact you. The templates also include how-to information you might find helpful, such as how to create screenshots and how to use callouts to highlight specific lines in code. If you don't use one of the templates, please put your article in a file (e.g., in a Microsoft Word file).

3. In the article, include the following:

  • Describe why you wrote the code. Often, people write scripts to solve a problem (e.g., finding failed services in a network) or automate time-consuming tasks (e.g., deleting old log files to keep log file folders a manageable size).
  • Let readers know what they need to do to use your code in their environment. For example, to use your script, do they need to customize a path in the code? Do they need to create an input file that contains the names of servers in their domains?
  • Explain how the code works. For example, does it use disconnected recordsets to create an easily accessible database or does it use Windows Management Instrumentation's (WMI's) StdRegProv class to change a registry entry? If you're writing an R2R article, you just need to briefly discuss how the code works. If you're writing a feature article, this discussion needs to be in detail.
  • Provide any results you've experienced as a result of using the code, if applicable.

4. Send your article and code to me at [email protected]. To avoid problems with our email filters, please append ".txt" to the code file's name (e.g., MyScript.cmd.txt) or add an underscore at the end of the file's extension (MyFunction.vbs_).

After I receive your R2R or feature article, I'll send it to a technical editor, who will review the article for technical accuracy and test the code. If the technical editor accepts your R2R article for publication, you'll receive $100 when it's published. If the technical editor accepts your feature article for publication, you'll receive $300 when it's published.

If you have any questions about how to write an article or would like some help in doing so, just send me an email. I'd be happy to help you become a Scripting Pro VIP author.

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