Scripting languages give developers a way to extend, link and customise applications. But developers say there are too many scripting languages for too many applications, forcing them to constantly learn new ones. Not surprisingly, Microsoft and Netscape are now out to snare the corporate software developer by getting the big application developers to support their respective scripting languages in end-user products, including 'Net-enabled tools.
So far, progress has been slow. Currently, Visual Basic for Applications, which includes Visual Basic Script, resides in only a handful of Microsoft applications, including Excel and Project. But just last month, Microsoft began licensing its Visual Basic Application Edition 5.0 with Internet ActiveX controls to software developers to embed in applications. This scheme would turn these packages into customizable development platforms for anyone accustomed to Visual Basic.
Eight companies, including Adobe Systems, NetManage and SAP, say they have licensed the Visual Basic Application Edition.
Programmers are unduly burdened with having to learn different scripting languages, and there is a need for a general-purpose, cross-application scripting standard, says Philip Meese, a developer at New York-based Mercury Technologies, which has been writing Java code for financial institutions.