Automating our tasks is a special treat. In what other career can we program machines to do our jobs for us? Oh, if only it were that easy. Automating something takes time, but the payback can be enormous.
This chapter doesn't attempt to teach Perl, Python, Ruby, Unix shell, VBasic, or Kix32. Instead, this chapter is about why we automate, what to automate, and how to automate. I'll also include some shortcuts that have helped me through the years.
Automation has the obvious benefit of reducing work for you because the task becomes quicker to do or—through Unix cron or Windows Scheduler—happens automatically without any intervention at all. An unexpected benefit is that an automated task is easier to delegate. Any task you can foist onto someone else is a special victory.