JSL isn't like any other standard language like those you mentioned. It is not meant to be a standalone language, but more of a back up tool when working on a project. You can actually write a script from scratch like you would with any other language, but it is pretty painfull working out the syntax with such little documenttaion out there. Ive written some scripts to be automated witha Perl script, but learning the JSL syntax did slow me down. When you are building a house quickly, you dont use stone to build it you use wood.
Thanks KaptainKodie. My programming language proficiency is limited to SAS. I thought that by learning another language (C++) with syntax similar to JSL, it would help me better understand JSL of JMP, I think I'm doomed :)
I wouldn't say you are doomed. In fact you might have an advantage not knowing any other programming languages. C#, C++, and the like, are designed for flexibility and code reusage, where JSL is designed to do a very specific set of tasks. I'm a 20 yr old college student and I picked it up fairly quick. It was tough for me because for my specific project I had to make my script generic for a lot of data that is generated by a Perl script. I would say my case is a bit unusual. For the casual task, it is probably a very simple process, which I know nothing of. I'd say go for it.
I'd encourage you to learn another language to learn programming basics. The chosen language doesn't matter a whole lot. What you need are the concepts. All languages essentially do the same basic things, only the details differ.
JSL is a great language for automation and very good for writing code you need to distribute and support. If you follow good practices, writing robust reusable code is pretty easy. You can get JSL to do nearly anything you desire. I definitely consider JMP with JSL a stable runtime environment which can be used as a serious development tool for complex and long analyses, extensive data manipulation, and extensive data perparation.
Where things will get painful at times is in the lack of a good debug tool, cryptic and sometimes misleading error messages, and the inability to call subprograms which are fully isolated from the calling program. Access to many low-level system comands and bit-level commands is missing, but JSL supplies ways to get around that too.