Active Scripting

Active Scripting (formerly known as ActiveX Scripting) is the technology used in Windows to implement component-based scripting support. It is based on COM (more precisely, OLE Automation) and allows installation of additional scripting engines in the form of COM modules.

Uses & History

The Active Scripting technologies were first released in 1996, with the release of the Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0 [ [ ActiveX unleashed] ] (August 1996) and Internet Information Services 3.0 products (December 1996).

Usual applications of Active Scripting include ASP server scripts, Internet Explorer, and Windows Script Host (WSH) scripts automating routine tasks, being a Windows counterpart of Unix shell scripts. The interfaces to Active Scripting engines are public, so any developer can create his own applications that are programmable in Active Scripting languages.

VBScript and JScript engines are included with the default installation of Windows versions after Windows 95, and are an optional install with CE. But, there are additional free and commercial Active Scripting engines available. For example, one can add support for Perl and Python scripting to Windows by installing the ActiveState Active Scripting engines which are included in the ActivePerl and ActivePython distributions. Haskell, PHP and many other are also available.


Active Scripting is now deprecated in favor of .NET, and no versions of VBScript or JScript with new features will be produced (the newer and incompatible languages Visual Basic .NET and JScript .NET are marketed as replacement for them). Originally, the .NET Framework had a scripting technology of its own and a separate scripting IDE called "Visual Studio for Applications" (VSA) [ [ Script happens .NET: MSDN] ] [ [ Microsoft Takes Wraps Off VSA Development Technology] ] [ VSA scripting in .NET] ] , and the interfaces to the technology were also available via Active Scripting, allowing even .NET-unaware applications to be scripted using .NET languages. VSA was also meant to replace Visual Basic for Applications. [ [ Visual Studio for Applications] ] However, that entire technology was deprecated in version 2.0 of the .NET Framework ] , leaving no clear upgrade path for applications desiring Active Scripting support (although "scripts" can be created in C#, VBScript, and other .NET languages, which can be compiled and executed at run-time via libraries installed as part of the standard .NET runtime).

The JScript and VBScript Active Scripting languages are currently maintained by Microsoft's Sustaining Engineering Team, which is responsible for bug fixes and security enhancements. Regardless of its deprecation, the amount of scripts written for Active Scripting languages ensures it will continue to be shipped with future Windows releases for many years to come. [ [ Rumours of VBScript's Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated] ] Microsoft has also introduced Windows PowerShell which can expose applications via PowerShell cmdlets and/or PowerShell providers.

See also

*Windows Script Host
*Windows Script File
*ActiveX control


External links

* [ Future of VBScript Language] - Information about the future of Active Scripting technologies.

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