We are starting the process of implementing Casper Suite at our largely Windows based business. At this time we have a number of Macs out in the wild and are looking to bring them under control, plus offer a range of Macbooks to certain departments.
We currently use SCCM to automate our PC updates, deployments and packaging and are very comfortable with scripting for those item. However with the move to Apple we are now faced with the task of deciding which scripting languages are best for us learn and progress with when trying to provide a degree of automation outside the scope of Casper.
Anyone have any recommendations as to the most useful languages for us to start learning so we are not totally in the dark.
This can be different't for different people, and there is always a better tool for the job (personally, if I can, I love to write things in Python if it is the best tool) BUT, the most versatile language to really start with is shell scripting. Learn how to script Bash and learn the command line well. Then go from there to whatever is most appropriate.
My personal preference is still bash. It rare that I'm faced with a challenge that I can't overcome with it, although I'm sure the same could be said for others.
AppleScript is useful if you want to interact with the user, or manipulate graphical items. I use it a lot if I want the user to enter a password, select a folder or something like that.
I've seen lots of Mac admins using perl and python these days.
There's a nice response to a similar question on this thread http://superuser.com/questions/414965/when-to-use-bash-and-when-to-use-perl-python-ruby
We've got quite a lot of Mac solution specific bash tutorials on our https://www.google.co.uk/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=amsys+blog+bash&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&gfe_rd=cr&e.... They're covering some of the particular scenarios we've come across over recent years where a bash script has helped.
Some of them are consolidated into a single guide: http://www.amsys.co.uk/blog/essential-guide-bash-scripting/#.VVEYUWB7Urk.
Start with Bash, combine with CocoaDialog for GUI interaction – way easier than implementing AppleScript as well, especially if it's a simple user-input dialog. Then look at Python once you have your shell basics down; much better for more complex things (the code is much simpler/cleaner).