Visual DialogScript is a complete development environment for creating either full blown programs or simple batch style scripts under Microsoft Windows(TM), written in a language called DialogScript.

    Visual DialogScript was written to fill the gap left by Microsoft's failure to provide a simple yet powerful language for Windows. It's main purpose is to provide a tool to quickly knock together simple utilities, automation scripts or a full blown application that run in a Windows environment. Originally it was not intended as a language for full-blown application development like C++ or Visual Basic(TM), but since it's initial inception it has become so much more than a simple batch language, in fact, it has become a favorite tool for developers using C++ or Visual Basic to create their scripts or programs in half the time it takes them to create the same program in their language.

    Microsoft has now filled the gap to an extent by introducing VBScript(TM), a slimmed down version of Visual Basic(TM). However, VBScript is still a powerful language with quite a complicated syntax that takes a while to learn. DialogScript is simpler. If you aren't a programmer then you'll be up to speed using VDS in less time than it would take you to learn Basic. And even if you are already familiar with another programming language, if what you want to do is possible using Visual DialogScript then we guarantee that using it you will accomplish the task quicker.

    VDS is also much faster. The language was designed for use with an interpreter which analyzes each line of code at run-time. Microsoft has only just introduced a version of Visual Basic that produces native code executables in response to complaints that interpreted Basic is slow.

    DialogScript is best described as a cross between a batch language and a full programming language. It's advantage is that it is easier to learn than Basic or C. If you have ever created DOS batch files or used spreadsheet macros to automate repetitive tasks you already understand the concepts needed to begin using Visual DialogScript productively.

    Unlike MS-DOS batch language, DialogScript gives you the option of creating a user-defined interface between the user and your program (which is called a "script.") You don't have to have an interface. Scripts can run invisibly in the background or use standard Windows message boxes to communicate with the user. For something you want to get up and running quickly not having to design even a rudimentary graphical interface can save a lot of time. If you do need a simple interface then VDS's Dialog Wizard lets you design the interface visually and then generates a skeleton script into which you simply insert your own code, so you still save time.

    Why would you use Visual DialogScript in preference to a tool like Visual Basic?

  • Because it is easier to learn.
  • Because you can create working programs faster.
  • Because it is inexpensive.
  • Because you can create small EXE files that can be distributed royalty-free.
  • What sort of things would you use Visual DialogScript for?

  • Automating routine tasks such as checking email or producing a report. DialogScript contains commands that let you control other Windows applications.
  • In a corporate environment, writing scripts to carry out configuration changes or perform software upgrades which can run automatically, "hands-off" on PCs throughout the organisation.
  • Create graphical front ends for DOS command line utilities.
  • As a power user, you could create your own utilities/applications.

    The remainder of this document consists of a tour of the Visual DialogScript development environment. It gives you a feel for how you would use the product, and includes screen shots of the major features.