Please Note: Portable as in portableapps.com, not the traditional definition. Originally posted on stackoverflow.com, asking here at another user's suggestion.
I'm a DBA and sysadmin, mostly for Windows machines running SQL Server. I'm looking for a programming/scripting language for Windows that doesn't require Admin access or an installer, needing no install process other than expanding it into a folder. My intent is to have a language for automation on which I can standardize.
Up to this point, I've been using a combination of batch files and Unix shell, using sh.exe from UnxUtils but it's far from a perfect solution.
I've evaluated a handful of options, all of them have at least one serious shortcoming or another. I have a strong preference for something open source or dual license, but I'm more interested in finding the right tool than anything else. Not interested that anything that relies on Cygwin or Java, but at this point I'd be fine with something that needs .NET.
- Manageable footprint (1-100 files, under 30 MB installed)
- Run on Windows XP and Server (2003+)
- No installer (exe, msi)
- Works with external pipes, processes, and files
- Support for MS SQL Server or ODBC connections
- Open Source
- FFI for calling functions in native DLLs
- GUI support (native or gtk, wx, fltk, etc)
- Linux, AIX, and/or OS X support
- Dynamic, object oriented and/or functional, interpreted or bytecode compiled; interactive development
- Able to package or compile scripts into executables
So far I've tried:
- Ruby: 148 MB on disk, 23000 files
- Portable Python: 54 MB on disk, 2800 files
- Strawberry Perl: 123 MB on disk, 3600 files
- REBOL: Great, except closed source and no MSSQL or ODBC in free version
- Squeak Smalltalk: Great, except poor support for scripting
---- cut: points of clarification ----
Why all the limitations?
I realize some of my criteria seem arbitrarily confining. It's primarily a product my environment. I work as a SQL Server DBA and backup Unix admin at a division of a large company. In addition to near a hundred boxes running some version or another of SQL Server on Windows, I also support the SQL Server Express Edition installs on over a thousand machines in the field.
Because of our security policies, I don't login rights on every machine. Often enough, an issue comes up and I'm given local Admin for some period of time. Often enough, it's some box I've never touched and don't have my own environment setup yet.
I may have temporary admin rights on the box, but I'm not the admin for the machine- I'm just the DBA. I've no interest in stepping on the toes of the Windows admins, nor do I want to take over any of their duties.
If I bring up "installing" something, suddenly it becomes a matter of interest for Production Control and the Windows admins; if I'm copying up a script, no one minds. The distinction may not mean much to the readers, but if someone gets the wrong idea I've suddenly got a long wait and significant overhead before I can get the tool installed and get the problem solved.
That's why I want something that can be copied and run in the manner of a portable app. What about the small footprint? My company has three divisions, each in a different geographical location, and one of them is a new acquisition. We have different production control/security policies in each division. I support our MSSQL databases in all three divisions. The field machines are spread around the US, sometimes connecting to the VPN over very slow links. Installing Ruby \using psexec has taken a long time over these connections. In these instances, the bigger time waster seems to be archives with thousands and thousands of files rather than their sheer size.
You could say I'm spoiled by Unix, where the admins usually have at least some modern scripting language installed; I'd use PowerShell, but I don't know it well and more importantly it isn't everywhere I need to work.
It's a regular occurrence that I need to write, deploy and execute some script on short notice on some machine I've never on which logged in. Since having Ruby or something similar installed on every machine I'll ever need to touch is effectively impossible because of the approvals, time and and Windows admin labor needed I makes more sense find a solution that allows me to work on my own terms.