Home > Articles > Programming > Visual Basic

Using VBScript

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

Introduction to VBScript

The Visual Basic language comes in several flavors besides the "traditional" standalone development tool it has always been. One of those flavors is Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). Another flavor, not to be confused with VBA, is the Visual Basic scripting language, or VBScript. Descriptions of all three appear in Table 30.1.

Table 30.1

VB Versus VBA Versus VBScript

Language

Description

Visual Basic

Standalone development environment that allows you to compile executable files, ActiveX Controls, and DLLs.

VBA

The version of Visual Basic designed to be used within an application, such as Excel, Access, or Visio. Starting with Microsoft Office 97, VBA and VB share the same IDE.

VBScript

Small subset of the VB language interpreted by Internet Explorer, Internet Information Server, Microsoft Outlook, and the Windows Scripting Host.

The VBScript language itself does not have anywhere near the power of VB or VBA, nor does it have its own development environment. These limitations are by design, however. The strength of VBScript is not in the language itself, but in how and where it can be used, such as the following:

  • Web pages. Client-side VBScript code can be embedded in standard HTML, allowing Web pages to contain application-like functionality.

  • Active Server Pages. Server-side VBScript code can be used in Active Server Pages, allowing Web pages to be generated and altered before returning content to a browser.

  • The Windows Scripting Host. Visual Basic script code can be run from the DOS command line like a batch file, allowing you to automate certain tasks.

Enhancing the Internet with VBScript

VBScript was first introduced for use with the Internet. The Internet itself is a physical network of computers. However, when most people think of the Internet, they do not think about the network but about specific applications used with it. The following are some examples of these applications:

  • World Wide Web. Interactive documents viewed in a Web browser. They can contain news, information, and programs to download to your computer.

  • E-mail. Electronic mail, used to send messages to a specific individual.

  • Newsgroups. Bulletin-board style discussion groups in which you can post questions and answers about a wide variety of topics.

  • Chat. Live communication with others connected to the Internet in the form of typed messages, audio, or video.

  • File Transfer and Terminal Access. Transfer of files (FTP) and remote access (Telnet) to a computer.

By far, the most popular use of the Internet is the World Wide Web. The idea for the World Wide Web come from Tim Berners-Lee as a way to aid his memory by inserting links into his documents. He eventually proposed a "global hypertext space" that would lead to today's web of millions of linked documents. A link not only provides a reference to a supporting document; it also allows the reader to "jump" directly to the supporting document—:hence, the term hyperlink. The hyperlinked documents form a "web" of information accessible to everyone on the Internet.

VBScript on the Web Server

You probably know from experience that the Web of today has evolved quite a bit from just a series of linked documents. Web sites contain rich multimedia elements and database-driven content, and can behave almost like standard applications. Arguably the most powerful improvements to the Web have been added to the Web server.

The Web server is the computer that delivers the requested Web pages to the browser. The concept of requesting a Web page is key to understanding what a Web server does. Many people make the mistake of thinking of Web pages as documents stored on file servers; this is not how the system works! The role of the Web server is pictured in Figure 30.1.

Figure 30.1

The Web server sends an HTML stream back to the browser in response to a request for a Web page.

To further illustrate the difference, consider the real-world example of researching William Shakespeare at your local library. Upon entering the library, you can just go to the Shakespeare section and pick up a book, or you can ask the librarian to help you.

If you go get a book yourself, the library is acting like a file server in that you are simply accessing a file (book) stored in it. On the other hand, if you request that the librarian help you, he or she will use his or her own expertise by asking questions and offering suggestions. In this case, the librarian is acting like a Web server because he or she is controlling your access to the files (books).

NOTE

The method by which browsers and Web servers talk to each other is known as the Hypertext Transfer Protocol, or HTTP.

Because all requests go through the Web server, the Web server can modify the information returned to the browser however it sees fit. One typical example is including database information in a Web page. This can be accomplished by executing a program on the server that handles database access and returns information in a format that the browser can understand. The way that Microsoft provides this technology to VB programmers is known as Active Server Pages. ASP is illustrated in Figure 30.2.

Figure 30.2

Active Server Pages are HTML with script code that is executed on the server before the user sees the results.

ASP is an exciting and powerful Web technology, so much so that it has its own chapter in this book: Chapter 31, "Active Server Pages."

VBScript in the Browser

In addition to using VBScript on the Web server, VBScript code can be executed on the user's desktop. To understand how this works, you have to know a little about the language in which Web pages are written: HTML.

HTML, which stands for Hypertext Markup Language, consists of some formatting codes that allow an author to create hyperlinks and format the document. The HTML language is fairly easy to understand, even for newcomers, as illustrated in the following example:

<FONT SIZE = "+2"> This is a sample web Page! </FONT> <BR>
<B> I hope you enjoy it! </B> <BR><BR>
The following is a hyperlink:  <A HREF = "http://www.que.com"> Click me! </A>

HTML includes both the document text and formatting codes. A special viewer, known as a browser, interprets the formatting codes and displays the Web page. A browser displaying the preceding lines of HTML is shown in Figure 30.3.

Figure 30.3

If you used a personal computer in the last year or two, you certainly encountered a Web browser.

A good VB programmer should have no trouble picking up HTML basics. The preceding example uses several formatting codes, or HTML tags. Most HTML elements have a starting point and an ending point, indicated by corresponding tags. For example, the <B> and </B> tags tell the browser that the text between them should be displayed in boldface format.

TIP

Learn more about HTML by viewing the HTML code behind your favorite Web pages. To do so in Internet Explorer, right-click in an empty area of the page and choose View Source.

Many books and online references are available to help you learn more about HTML. For the purposes of this chapter, Table 30.2 lists some commonly used HTML elements.

Table 30.2

Common HTML Tags

Tag

Description

<HR>

Horizontal separator bar

<BR>

Line break

<B> and </B>

Boldface

<I> and </I>

Italics

<U> and </U>

Underline

<CENTER> and </CENTER>

Centers text

<A HREF=url> linktext </A>

Inserts a hyperlink (or "anchor")

<IMG SRC=imagefile ALT=tooltip text>

Inserts a GIF or JPEG image

<HTML> and </HTML>

Denotes start and end of a document

<HEAD> and </HEAD>

Start and end of document header

<TITLE> and </TITLE>

Page title located in the header

<BODY> and </BODY>

Denotes start and end of the body

<TABLE> and </TABLE>

Denotes start and end of a table

<TR> and </TR>

Indicates a row within the <TABLE> tag

<TD> and </TD>

Indicates a column within the <TR> tag

<FORM action=url method=method name=name>

Denotes start and end of a and </FORM> form

<INPUT type=type value=value name=name>

Form Input element

<FONT> and </FONT>

Controls many aspects of the current font, including typeface and size

NOTE

Internet Explorer 4.0 also includes support for DHTML, or dynamic HTML, which makes Web pages even more programmable by providing programmatic access to HTML tags.

The HTML codes listed in Table 30.2 are a small fraction of those available for use. In addition, codes can be nested in different ways to produce different results. Although HTML can do a lot of interesting things by itself, it lacks the power of a programming language. Other than jumping from one document to another and submitting forms, there are no real actions that you can take with standard HTML. However, you can script code to HTML to make Web pages a little more functional. Scripting languages such as VBScript and JScript are embedded in HTML and indicated by a special <SCRIPT> tag. The following example uses VBScript to display a message box:

<SCRIPT Language = "VBScript">
<!--
Dim nAnswer
nAnswer = MsgBox ("Would you like to visit my site?" ,vbYesNo,"Hello!")

If nAnswer = vbNo Then
    MsgBox "Well, then I will send you somewhere else!"
    Window.Location = "http://www.nowhere.com"
end if
-->
</SCRIPT>

<FONT SIZE = "+2"> This is a sample web Page! </FONT> <BR>
<B> I hope you enjoy it! </B> <BR><BR>
The following is a hyperlink:  <A HREF = "http://www.que.com"> Click me! </A>

The preceding HTML example contains a section of VBScript code added at the beginning. When the browser begins to parse the HTML in the Web page, it encounters the VBScript code and executes it. You will learn more details about using VBScript in your pages later in the chapter.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020