A VBScript script must be executed within a host environment, of which there are several provided with Microsoft Windows, including: Windows Script Host (WSH), Internet Explorer (IE), and Internet Information Services (IIS). Additionally, the VBScript hosting environment is embeddable in other programs, through technologies such as the Microsoft Script Control (msscript.ocx).
VBScript began as part of the Microsoft Windows Script Technologies, launched in 1996. This technology (which also included JScript) was initially targeted at web developers. During a period of just over two years, VBScript advanced from version 1.0 to 2.0, and over that time it gained support from Windows system administrators seeking an automation tool more powerful than the batch language first developed in the early 1980s.
On March 6, 1988 Alan Cooper showed Bill Gates his shell prototype that allowed widgets to be added dynamically. March 20, 1991, Microsoft adopted "Quick Basic". This allowed users to create Windows apps quickly and easily with a GUI. Finally, on August 1, 1996, Internet Explorer is made with features that include VBScript.
In version 5.5, SubMatches were added to the regular expression class in VBScript, to finally allow script authors to capture the text within the expressions groups. That capability had already been available in JScript.
With the advent of the .NET framework, the scripting team took the decision to implement future support for VBScript within ASP.NET for web development, and therefore no new versions of the VBScript engine would be developed and it moved over to being supported by Microsofts Sustaining Engineering Team, who are responsible for bug fixes and security enhancements. For Windows system administrators, Microsoft suggests that they migrate to Windows PowerShell. However, the scripting engine will continue to be shipped with future releases of Microsoft Windows and IIS.
This relatively widespread use of VBScript is not because of many special merits of VBScript - several useful features of the full Visual Basic, such as strong typing, extended error trapping and the ability to pass a variable number of parameters to a subroutine have been removed - but mainly because, apart from being easy to learn, royalties need not be paid to Microsoft by implementers as long as the VBScript trade mark is acknowledged. By contrast, when an organization licenses Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) from Microsoft - as companies such as Autodesk, StatSoft, Great Plains Accounting and Visio (subsequently acquired by Microsoft) have done - it is allowed to redistribute the full VBA code-writing and debugging environment with its product.
VBScript can be included in two other types of scripting files: Windows Script Files, and HTML Applications.
A Windows Script File (WSF) is styled after XML. A WSF file can include multiple VBS files. As a result WSF files provide a means for code reuse: one can write a library of classes or functions in one or more .vbs files, and include those files in one or more WSF files to use and reuse that functionality in a modular way. The files have extension .wsf and can be executed using wscript.exe or cscript.exe, just like a .vbe file.
An HTML Application (HTA) is styled after HTML. The HTML in the file is used to generate the user interface, and a scripting language such as VBScript is used for the program logic. The files have extension .hta and can be executed using mshta.exe.
VBScript (and JScript) can also be used in a Windows Script Component - an ActiveX-enabled script class that can be invoked by other COM-enabled applications. These files have extension .wsc.
The language of VBScript is modelled on Visual Basic, and therefore can be reviewed using similar categories: procedures, control structures, constants, variables, user interaction, array handling, date/time functions, error handling, mathematical functions, objects, regular expressions, string manipulation, and so on.
The following are some key points of introduction to the VBScript language.
A “procedure” is the main construct in VBScript for separating code into smaller modules. VBScript distinguishes between a function, which can return a result in an assignment statement, and a subroutine, which cannot. Parameters are positional, and can be passed by value or by reference.
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