Author: Ed Wison
Publisher: Microsoft Press, 2004
Aimed at: Those who already know some VBScript
Pros: Lots of useful information on how to use VBScript
Cons: Not good on teaching the basics of VBScript
Reviewed by: Ian Elliot
This Self Paced Learning Guide is superficially about learning VBScript. It is a fairly slow and methodical introduction to writing programs using Windows Scripting Host but by page 148 we reach a chapter called “Why Windows Management Instrumentations”. This is all about using the WMI system from VBScript to do all sorts of useful things. This is a good idea but not while you are still describing the basic facilities of VBScript. The mix of learning about WMI and VBScript just seems to make both more difficult to master. What is really irritating is that if you already know VBScript then the description of using WMI is actually very useful.
After dealing with WMI the book moves onto the Active Directory Services Interfaces – ADSI. Then on to networking components, Logon scripts, the registry, working with printers and configuring IIS. Each of these topics is advanced in terms of scripting and yet they are used as vehicles to introduce simple programming ideas and VB Script syntax. For example, at the end of the chapter on login scripts the “Quiz Yourself” section asks what the “Join” and the “RefreshSchemaCache” functions do. These two functions are in very different leagues – one simple and one advanced.
Overall this is a good book as long as you already know some VBScript and want to discover how it can be useful to you. The author would have been well advised to either write an introductory VBScript book or, better, a more advanced book on how to use it. I can just hear the publishers now – write a “practical guide to doing things in VBScript for the complete beginner”. This sounds like a good idea but it’s an impossible specification. It’s a lot like being told to learn to drive by driving the school run every day until you get it right. A more achievable specification is - first learn to program. Then learn to do useful things with your new skill.