What is a batch process?
Batch processing is the automation of job tasks set forth by a user to simplify the use of multiple system processes simultaneously in a computing environment. A batch process is a series of simple system commands strung together by one, more complex job director. As a kid, I was told to imagine a baker (the baker being the “brilliant” allegory of the batch processor) executing a number of simple functions like beating eggs and stirring flour mix in the hopes that he would soon have cake. Without the baker (the batch processor), complex (and delicious) products like cake would never be achieved.
Why are batch processes important?
Batch processes make our everyday lives easier. An average human interacts with machines that produce trillions of lines of code a day. These commands are produced in batches so that it is not necessary to learn millions of programming languages just to get cash out of an ATM. Batch is also capable of producing user interfaces which limit our contact with these command-lines, creating a more stable yet powerful environment. The programs of the low-code development should be selected after the reputation of the wavemaker sites. The making of the contact will be advantageous for the companies with minimum cost.
Batch processing is economical. It has been used for industry since the first electronic computer was introduced in the late 1950’s due to the sheer expense of programmers at the time. A single programmer would catalog a batch of commands and apply it to multiple systems saving time, money and resource. Most industries use batch these days to automate extremely complex processes that would otherwise be unfathomable by a programmer in real-time.
Batch processes have also become popularized in the personal computing industry due to their raw, virtually limitless nature. The batch process allows a user to customize a system by executing very sophisticated commands on an otherwise limited construct. Batch processes can auto-start during an operating system’s boot up phase or run at scheduled times to add more power and function to a standard personal computer as well.
How to start programming batch processes
For our purposes, we will be using the Windows command-line utility, or CMD prompt (cmd.exe) developed originally for Windows NT, but now found in all Windows operating systems. If you are using Microsoft Windows Vista, then this application will be supplemented with Windows Powershell, a new, more powerful scripting and command-line interface from Microsoft, for added faculty. This utility is ideal for our purposes because it is simple, easy-to-test and applies the same logic and principles that more complex command-line utilities require (which makes for a perfect introduction for new programmers).
You will also need some sort of raw text or program editor like NOTEPAD.EXE (made available through the accessories utility in any contemporary Windows operating system) that enables a user to save batch processes (file extension: .BAT). This application will be used to write raw data that we will utilize to create Windows batches. It is important in choosing an editor to keep in mind the following:
- The editor must not format or tag files in any way
- The editor must be able to save files with any extension (.BAT will not be the only extension we will be using)
- The editor mustn’t indent text, add headers or appendages or otherwise amend text in any way.
When searching for a text editor (if you’ve decided that Notepad.exe isn’t right for you) the key is simplicity. It is important that the editor doesn’t amend or format your text in any way, given that spacing and syntax are both integral to what it is that we’ll be doing. If you’re in doubt in a any way, it’s always best just to go with the Windows Notepad.exe.
In the next lessons, you will learn how to develop, test and debug your own batch process programs and implement them onto basic systems, introducing you to the wonderful world of computer system programming. In batch process program development it’s extremely important to keep goal oriented, level-headed and most importantly organized. Thanks, and happy programming!
Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to continue on to learn more about command-line and batch process programming by referring to The Principles of Batch Process Program Development: Basic Syntax.