Blind Bargains

Review: GW Micro's Script Training is Well Worth Your Time

With the release of Window-Eyes 7 and GW Micro’s support for a versatile scripting language, the need has come for classes to teach potential programmers how to make the most of the new features. This isn’t to say that one couldn’t learn to script without taking a class, but for those needing a refresher or who learn better by hands-on teaching, the two-day class offered is a godsend. I was quite impressed with the Window-Eyes script writing class, which I was a part of last month.

The two-day class I participated in included six members and met in a suburb of Detroit. The class was staged in a hotel conference room and netbooks loaded with the class materials were provided for our use. I was quite impressed that GW Micro sent three of their staff to assist with the training, especially considering the size of the class. Company cofounder Doug Geoffray was the lead instructor, while Training Division Manager Jeremy Curry and newly-hired dedicated scripter Bhavani Anugonda were available to answer questions and give advice. The class is intended for people with at least some programming experience, though one need not to be an advanced programmer to take the class.

Admittedly, the first day started out a bit slow, with a discussion of the basics of scripting, how to create a package, security concerns, and other elementary information. But while this information seemed routine to me, I fully understand why it was necessary to include it as a part of the course, especially considering all of the participants arrived with different levels of expertise. Luckily, after the first break, we jumped right in to writing the obligatory “Hello world” script, and we were off. As the rest of the class progressed, we learned how to manipulate program windows, enable error reporting, generate custom dialog boxes and menus, and act upon application events, among many other topics. I liked how the class included real-world examples of things that one might really want to script, instead of just some phony exercises.

The pace of the class was fast enough to keep my interest, while still allowing for time to answer questions and jump off on some tangential discussions about various items which probably weren’t in the original curriculum. Our questions and discussion caused the class to run over the allotted time both days, but none of the staff at GW Micro seemed to mind. In fact, all appeared to be genuinely interested in what we had to say, and you could tell they were proud to be associated with Window-Eyes and its development.

At the end of the course, we were given a CD with class materials and the headphones we used for the course. The CD makes for an excellent reference guide which I have already used in developing and improving on some scripts of my own.

When the class was over, I found myself wishing there would have been an extra day in the schedule, perhaps as a less formal Q&A session. But in thinking about it a bit more, I think the length of the class was just about right, as I have now been given the tools and resources to take my scripting to the next level. This class coupled with the support provided by several GW Micro staff members on their GW-Scripting list has offered plenty of resources in order to get started with scripting.

I would be remiss if I didn’t extend a big “thank you” to Mike Ellis and MEE, Inc. who provided scholarships for many of the attendees of this class. Without this financial assistance, this class would not have happened.

What: GW Micro Script Training

Cost: $650 for a two-day class, plus accomidations


Category: Articles
Displaying 1 comment.
roosterloop Tuesday, 15-Dec-2009 4:26 PM ET:

Wow, sounds like a very informative seminar. I hope that they put it into a internet course at some point. Thanks for posting.

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J.J. Meddaugh is an experienced technology writer and computer enthusiast. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a major in telecommunications management and a minor in business. When not writing for Blind Bargains, he enjoys travel, playing the keyboard, and meeting new people.

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