PrimalScript 4.0 a boon for novices and experts alike

New version’s Evolved Script Packager lets you wrap scripts into a convenient executable file

Windows administrators have long been denied good scripting tools with real enterprise features. Instead, they quite often offer little more than the most basic syntax coloring and text editing. PrimalScript 4.0 by Sapien gives administrators the features they’ve been looking for in a full scripting environment.

A client-side tool, PrimalScript is easy to install and even easier to learn. Unlike some editors, creating a new snippet is extremely easy: A simple right-click gets the process going. The product has all of the standard features you’ve come to expect from a script editor, such as vertical text selection, color coding, bookmarks, and support for source control, to name a few. It can handle more than 30 scripting languages, including, but not limited to, JavaScript, VBScript, Python, Perl, and Rexx. PrimalScript provides code snippets that act as named templates for all of the languages it supports. Plus, you can write your own snippets and organize them any way you like.

PrimalScript is designed primarily for admins, who will be able to use all of the features with drag-and-drop ease. However, the solution offers plenty for hardcore developers, who will enjoy the plethora of shortcuts provided.

PrimalScript 4.0 offers one of the most phenomenal features I’ve ever seen in a script editor: the Evolved Script Packager. The ESP allows you to compile your scripts into executable files and distribute them anywhere you like. You can pick as many scripts as you want -- to run in any order -- and they don’t even have to be in the same language. When creating an executable, you may choose from such options as icon, execution user, and output file. You can even digitally sign the file to prevent tampering. I can’t praise this invaluable feature enough-- admins can protect the integrity of their processes from any unauthorized users.

Another feature of PrimalScript is that it exposes all of the COM objects that reside on your computer -- probably even some you didn’t know existed. (In my case, that turned out to be hundreds of different library, class, and other object types.) Admins can drag and drop calls to these objects into scripts, thereby simplifying complex script-writing for novices.

PrimalScript makes very interesting use of FTP. You can set it to grab scripts from an FTP location, then edit and republish them. PrimalScript also has very rich search and replace functionality that allows you to replace all instances of a string in several files at once.

A couple of helpful wizards further boost PrimalScript’s usefulness. The WMI (Windows Management Interface) Wizard helps admins query information from different servers, such as CPU, disk memory, and more, then creates the VBScript for the object, which can be easily dropped into any script. The ADSI (Active Directory Service Interface) Wizard helps admins build queries against Active Directory.

PrimalScript contains its own internal debugger, so you may test and debug your scripts. It also makes deploy projects extremely easy by giving you the capability to publish to multiple targets. This functionality tremendously decreases the time it takes to deploy scripts to multiple servers.

So, where can PrimalScript be improved? First, it would be nice if it came with more code snippets. I found many of the defaults almost useless because they were in such small chunks. It would be much more helpful for the company to provide functions that perform entire tasks, such as reading all the files in a folder or searching all users in a Windows group. I would also like to see more rich functionality in the WMI Wizard, such as being able to pick specific objects and not just cursor through all of them. For the ADSI Wizard, I would like to see more than just select queries, and I’d like to see the wizard help with adding and updating objects.

All in all, however, PrimalScript 4.0 offers features that will satisfy novices’ and experienced admins’ scripting needs. The Script Packager in particular sets a new bar for scripting environments.

InfoWorld Scorecard
Value (10.0%)
Ease of use (20.0%)
Manageability (25.0%)
Performance (20.0%)
Reliability (15.0%)
Setup (10.0%)
Overall Score (100%)
Sapien PrimalScript 4.0 9.0 9.0 9.0 8.0 9.0 9.0 8.8
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