This special edition of SQL Server Magazine UPDATE introduces you to Scripting Central, a free monthly eNewsletter that will help you keep on top of scripting news, events, tools, and techniques.

1. Perspectives

  • Welcome to Scripting Central
  • 2. Scripter's Toolkit

  • Get a Free Education--Really!
  • Free Exchange Tool Is Better Than Mdbvu32.exe
  • 3. This & That

  • My Favorite Function Contest
  • Is Perl Losing Its Luster?
  • 4. Scripting Scuttlebutt

  • Backup Scripts Are Just What the Administrator Ordered
  • 5. Script Watch

  • Puzzling Situations
  • Check Up on Your Antivirus Software
  • 6. New & Improved

  • Use Scripts with Single Sign-On Solution

  • 1. Perspectives


    by Karen Bemowski, kbemowski@windowsitpro.com

    Welcome to Scripting Central
    Let's face it. To most people, scripting is the "B" word. (No, not THAT word--I meant "boring.") But those people who've actually tried scripting often come to enjoy it. This newsletter is for those people.

    Scripting Central is a free monthly eNewsletter that will help you keep on top of scripting news, events, tools, and techniques. 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 will cover all types of scripting languages, including VBScript, Perl, and T-SQL. It will also provide tools for and tips on how to write code for a variety of Windows OSs and applications that run on those OSs, such as Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft SQL Server.

    To start, Scripting Central will consist of six sections. Beside this commentary and the "Scripting Scuttlebutt" letters section, the newsletter will feature the "Scripter's Toolkit," "This & That," "Script Watch," and "New & Improved" sections. In the "Scripter's Toolkit" section, you'll find information about tools, techniques, and resources that can help you write better code. To be honest, the "This & That" section covers whatever doesn't fall into the other sections. One "This & That" item in this issue is the announcement of the "My Favorite Function" contest. If you're into VBScript, be sure to check out this contest. "Script Watch" tidbits alert you to interesting scripts that you can find in Code Central and the various Windows IT Pro print publications (i.e., Windows Scripting Solutions, Windows IT Pro, SQL Server Magazine, Exchange & Outlook Administrator, and Windows IT Security). Code Central (http://scripting.windowsitpro.com) is Windows IT Pro's new searchable storehouse of scripts and programs for automating all types of components in a Windows environment. Look for this storehouse to open its doors in late October. Finally, the "New & Improved" section keeps you informed of new and improved scripting-related products and solutions on the market.

    You might have noticed that I started out the previous paragraph with "To start, Scripting Central will...." To paraphrase Neo in "The Matrix," this is only the beginning and how we proceed is up to you. In the upcoming months, let me know what you like and don't like about Scripting Central and what else you'd like to see in it. Just like any script, this newsletter is a work in progress. To subscribe to Scripting Central, go to http://www.windowsitpro.com/email.

    2. Scripter's Toolkit

    Get a Free Education--Really!
    Not many educational programs are free anymore, so the following is a great opportunity for scripters. Microsoft TechNet will be hosting Scripting Week 3 during the last full week of October. Although Microsoft is hyping its Giveaway Sweepstakes and a contest in which the winner gets a trip for two to Seattle and dinner with the Scripting Guys, the real main attraction of Scripting Week 3 is five free scripting-related Webcasts:

  • "Script It Up a Notch: Adding a Little Pizzazz (and a Lot of Functionality) to Your System Administration Scripts," October 24, 9:30 to 11:00 A.M. Pacific time
  • "Cheaper by the Dozen: Automating Multiple Machines Across Your Network," October 25, 9:30 to 11:00 A.M. Pacific time
  • "Looks Aren't Everything, But...," October 26, 9:30 to 11:00 A.M. Pacific time
  • "Going Beyond the Command Line with HTML Applications," October 27, 9:30 to 11:00 A.M. Pacific time
  • "The Antiques Script Show," October 28, 9:30 to 11:00 A.M. Pacific time
  • To register or get more information about these Webcasts, go to http://www.microsoft.com/technet/scriptcenter/webcasts/sw3.mspx. You can get information about the Giveaway Sweepstakes and the Scripting Guys contest at that URL as well.

    Free Exchange Tool Is Better Than Mdbvu32.exe
    MFCMAPI is hard to pronounce, but fortunately it's not that hard to use. The Microsoft Foundation Classes MAPI (MFCMAPI) is a free tool from Microsoft that lets you display all the folders and subfolders in a Microsoft Exchange Server message store. You can also use it to display any address book that's loaded in a profile.

    In the Exchange & Outlook UPDATE article "MFCMAPI: A Useful Free Tool" (http://www.windowsitpro.com/windows/article/articleid/46539/46539.html), Sue Mosher notes that MFCMAPI "does everything that mdbvu32.exe does, but with a more intuitive UI and a lot more functionality." For example, MFCMAPI lets you easily find a folder and its properties. MFCMAPI not only displays properties' hexadecimal values but also their text equivalents. (Mdbvu32.exe shows only hex values.) You can edit, delete, or copy and paste individual properties and items. You can download MFCMAPI from the Microsoft article "MFCMAPI demonstrates MAPI client code" at http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=291794.

    3. This & That


    My Favorite Function Contest
    Have you written a VBScript or JScript function that you constantly use in your scripts? Does this function require little or no modification each time you use it, so all you basically have to do is call it into action? If so, submit your VBScript or JScript function to Scripting Central's My Favorite Function contest.

    I'd love to say that the first-place winner will receive $1 million or even a trip for two to Loveland, Colorado, to have dinner with the Scripting Central staff. However, we're not Publishers Clearing House or Microsoft, so our prize is a bit more modest (but still nice). Three winners will be chosen (one a month for 3 months), each of which will receive $100 and get his or her function published in Scripting Central and in Windows Scripting Solutions' "Snippets to Go" column. In addition, the three winners will be put into a drawing for another $100.

    To enter the contest, send a description of what your function does and how to use it in a script (e.g., how to call it). In addition, include the function code. You can email your entry to scriptingcentral@windowsitpro.com. Please include your full name and telephone number. Look for the first month's winner in the November 4 edition of Scripting Central.

    Is Perl Losing Its Luster?
    In "Perl Needs Better Tools" on the O'Reilly Perl.com Web site (http://www.perl.com/pub/a/2005/08/25/tools.html), Matisse Enzer writes that, "Perl is in danger of becoming a fading language--new programmers are learning Java and Python in college, and companies like Google hardly use Perl at all." Enzer goes on to say that better tools for Perl are needed to help keep Perl relevant and effective as the primary language for medium and large projects. He advocates that a graphical IDE be created for Perl. Do you feel that Perl is fading away? Would a graphical IDE be a boon for Perl? Send us your thoughts at scriptingcentral@windowsitpro.com.

    4. Scripting Scuttlebutt


    What's on your mind? Let us know at scriptingcentral@windowsitpro.com

    Backup Scripts Are Just What the Administrator Ordered
    I've been meaning to write and thank you for quite a while. I had been thinking about using scripts to automate NTBackup for routine operations but never made the time to sit down and try. Then I found the scripts in Bill Stewart's article "Want a Flexible Automated Backup Solution?" (February 2005, Windows IT Pro, http://www.windowsitpro.com/article/articleid/44990/44990.html). I've been using these scripts for about half a year. Having done so, I realize how much effort it took Bill to develop the approaches. If I had made the time to try, I wonder how far I would have progressed before giving up.

    Thank you very much for these scripts. They have made backups a trivial operation instead of a focused task requiring careful thought to get all the details correct each time.

    5. Script Watch


    Puzzling Situations
    If you like to solve puzzles and you like scripting, read on. One logic puzzle that has become quite popular these days is Sudoku. Typically, you manually solve Sudoku puzzles, but there is another way: using T-SQL scripts. In the T-SQL Black Belt column "Solve Sudoku Puzzles with T-SQL" in the November issue of SQL Server Magazine, Itzik Ben-Gan shows you how to practice both your logic and T-SQL skills. Speaking of puzzles, in Dr. Scripto's Fun Zone in the Microsoft Script Center, you'll find a new scripting puzzle posted each Friday. To try to solve today's new puzzle, "Apparently, Once Is Enough," go to http://www.microsoft.com/technet/scriptcenter/funzone/puzzle/default.mspx.

    Check Up on Your Antivirus Software
    Your car or truck isn't the only thing that needs a regular checkup. So does your antivirus software. Although it's easy to adopt a "set it and forget it" attitude about antivirus software, you need to check whether this important software is really working. To do so, you can use EICARtest.bat. This script copies a simulated infected file to specified machines and logs the results. In "Test Your Antivirus Software" in the November issue of Windows Scripting Solutions, Dick Lewis discusses how to obtain and use this script.

    6. New and Improved


    Use Scripts with Single Sign-On Solution
    Version3 released Simple Sign-On, an identity management solution that's fully integrated into Active Directory (AD). Users have secure access to their Windows and Microsoft SharePoint applications without having to remember or track user IDs and passwords. Administrators can use scripts and macros to manage users' applications. Below the Simple Sign-On root container in AD is the Applications container, which houses all the application groups. These groups can contain scripts and macros for multiple purposes. You can use a combination of scripting languages (e.g., VBScript) with the same macro. The macro environment supports JavaScript, HTML, and XML, and you can add others. Simple Sign-On also has built-in functions and variables and a Property Bag, which houses variables' values. Using the built-in functions, you can read these values from a script or macro. For more information, contact Version3 at 803-779-5969 or info@ver3.com.
    http://www.ver3.com

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