Before attempting to write any script using E-Basic, a few critical pieces of information must be known. Even the most expert programmer should read the following.
Learning to write script will minimally require learning the basics of programming. The complexity of the experiment task will determine the amount and complexity of the script required, and therefore, the amount and complexity of script-writing knowledge necessary. Most experiments involving user-written script will minimally require the user to be able to write and add functions (e.g., to display an internal variable, or indicate contingent branching based on responses). For someone with programming experience, these types of functions might be accomplished in a few minutes or hours, while someone without programming experience may need a day or more to accomplish the same goal. More complicated tasks, such as creating a simulated ATM, will require more comprehensive programming and may require considerable programming experience. Again, the length of time required to accomplish the task will depend on programming knowledge, skill, and the task itself. Complex systems interactions, such as creating new SDKs, would require significant programming knowledge and expertise, and are best handled by professional programmers.
For people that have experience programming with languages such as Basic, C, or Pascal, the information in this chapter should be straightforward. Users who are new to programming are advised to become familiar with script by taking a programming course, or by carefully working through script examples. E-Basic is very similar to Visual Basic for Applications. Visual Basic for Applications would be the best programming course to choose, but Visual Basic would also be useful.
For more help, PST recommends the following reference sources:
- For the novice user with little to no programming experience and for those new to VBA type languages: VBA for Dummies, 5th Edition, John Paul Mueller, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, 2007.
- For more advanced users with substantial programming experience: VBA Developer’s Handbook, 2nd Edition, Ken Getz & Mike Gilbert, Sybex Inc., San Francisco, CA, 2001.
Another efficient method of learning to program using E-Basic is to examine script examples in the E-Prime Command Reference (https://pstnet.com/ecr). Additionally, the Command Reference can be accessed via the Help Menu in E-Studio.