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Objects, properties and methods

Scripting is simpler than it looks and can save you substantial time and effort. Here are some basic scripting concepts for newbies as we introduce a new regular column by Christa Anderson, a noted scripting authority.

Editor's note: This is the first of a continuing interactive series on scripting that will appear on on a regular basis. Christa Anderson, a noted authority on the subject, will explain basic scripting concepts and then move on to teach you how to use VBScript to perform common tasks. You can e-mail your questions to

Objects are at the core of most scripts. Objects represent parts of the operating system, or user accounts, or parts of the computer, or... you get the idea -- they're a way of representing anything that you can manipulate with the script.

Objects are nouns. Adjectives describe nouns; properties describe objects. Object properties may be a printer's name, a network card's IP address or whether DHCP is enabled for a particular network card. In the same vein, verbs manipulate nouns; and methods manipulate objects. Methods are less common; relatively few objects have true methods -- but one method could be telling a computer to reboot. "Reboot" would be the method.

We'll talk more about kinds of objects and where they come from in next month's column (the second half of defining terms). But, for now, walk away with this: Your scripts will often deal with objects, and to manipulate those objects you will change or read their properties. And, less frequently, you will use object methods to take some action.

Beginner's guide to scripting

  Objects, properties and methods
  Scripting hosts and the interpreter
  How are scripts interpreted?
  Data types you'll use

Christa Anderson
When Christa Anderson began working with Windows Server operating systems in 1992, she became increasingly interested in finding more efficient and flexible ways of performing routine tasks. Christa has written extensively about administrative scripting and taught technical sessions on the subject at conferences such as Comdex and CeBIT, helping people who had never done any scripting to write their own scripts in half a day. In addition to her interest in scripting Windows management, Christa is an authority on server-based computing and the program manager for Terminal Services licensing in Longhorn. If you have a scripting question for Christa, please e-mail her at

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