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Simplify with subroutines

In the second article in our continuing series on scripting, noted scripting expert Christa Anderson covers some advanced scripting concepts and offers several tips that will help you debug your scripts.

Procedures execute only when called. Functions are one type of procedure. Subroutines (also known as subprocedures) are the other type. Unlike functions, subroutines do not return a result. Instead, you'll use subroutines like mini-scripts to perform the same task multiple times in the course of a script, such as creating user accounts for all users in a list. Using subroutines reduces the chance of introducing errors and simplifies debugging.

We talked about variables last month. Procedures use either global variables -- variables with the same value for all parts of the script -- or local variables, which are private to their procedure. When we get to using procedures, I'll explain the implications of my choice for a particular script.

Increase your scripting expertise

  Arranging and manipulating data
  Combining operators with functions
  Simplify with subroutines
  Where do objects come from?
  Grouping objects
  Seven quick scripting tips

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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