ACL: How to Create Your Own Scripts

Creating scripts (and editing them) is not as hard as many of you believe them to be.

Sure, it takes practice and time to learn the basics, but YOU can do it.

If you don’t learn scripting, you are NOT using ACL to it’s fullest, nor are you making the best use of your time.

This presentation, Embrace Repeatable Scripts: Tips & Tricks for Creating ACL Scripts (PDF), from the 2013 ACL Conference in Atlanta, demonstrates several ways to create scripts.

Start on page 12 of the presentation (the pages before that introduce you to the presenter’s company, a bit overdone).

The different methods of creating a script are explained, with screenshots:

  • Use table history
  • Use the script recorder
  • Use the commands in the ACL log
  • Do it manually (type it)
  • Capture syntax of the command

I often create scripts from table history, after I perform the commands I want to produce a table or report. However, I am beginning to type more scripts from scratch, and I create a lot of scripts by copying other scripts (or pieces of other scripts) and editing them.

An old entry in the ACL forum says that scripting by table history should be avoided. Maybe back in 2006, it was not reliable, but I have never had a problem using table history, other than get an error message that “table history incomplete”. That was because the table history was so long that ACL wouldn’t create a script. According to the forum, you can set how much history ACL can handle via script command (I’ll dig it up later).

Be aware that some operations cannot be captured, but must be written by hand into a script (someday, I should write a post about that).

Back to the presentation — it also contains a section called, ‘Best practices for script design’.

Thanks to Anke Giegandt for this presentation!

For all of the presentations from the 2013 ACL Conference, go here. I heard this was a great conference, full of solid ideas and methodology.



Filed under ACL, Data Analytics, Free, Free Download, Scripting (ACL), Written by Skyyler

5 responses to “ACL: How to Create Your Own Scripts

  1. Will

    When you write scripts manually, do you prefer to write them from within ACL or within a text editor?


    • Will,
      I usually write them from within ACL. Occasionally I do it in a text editor, but usually when I do that, I’m editing a current script and doing a complicated find and replace that you can’t do inside ACL.


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