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Monday
Nov102008

PowerShell at TechEd EMEA 2008 IT Professionals

The PowerShell was strong with TechEd EMEA again this year. I’m sure why the PowerShell team are such big fans of this event, but for those of us in Europe who are fans of PowerShell, it’s good news! I’m not sure whether this is the cause or the effect of the PowerShell team supporting the EMEA event, but in the European PowerShell community, we have some of the very best people in PowerShell worldwide! I’ll link to those guys in a minute after this important message:

PowerShell V2 will ship with Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 (with a download for previous Windows versions soon after). It will be installed and on by default, except in Server Core, where it will be an optional install. The next version of the Active Directory Users and Computers MMC will be a GUI on top of PowerShell. So even if you don’t manage Exchange 2007, or one of the other server products that uses PowerShell; even if you only manage desktop machines, PowerShell is going to be the way that you’re going to be doing that before very long. Even if you think your company will be moving services into the Cloud with Azure, PowerShell will be the way to manage them. Take my advice – get into it now and give yourself a head start! Or don’t, but that could well be a career-limiting choice – don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The reason that I say you should do it now, when you might think that Windows 7 and therefore PowerShell V2 is a long way out, is that at the moment the barrier to entry is lower. There may be some V2 features that you’re really looking forward to using, but if you wait until then, the language will be that much bigger. Any work you do with V1 is only going to help you going forward, and that’s not to say there isn’t a whole lot you can take advantage of now!

Ok, there you go – that’s some good advice for you. You know that clever people take good advice and that people who don’t take good advice aren’t so clever, right? I’m guessing you’re clever, so here’s where to download PowerShell (or you can just install the feature if you’re using Windows Server 2008).

Anyway, about PowerShell at TechEd EMEA 2008 IT Professionals

Funnily enough, the first person that I bumped into at the CCIB was my friend Richard Siddaway, the man behind the UK PowerShell User Group (the first PowerShell UG anywhere!). Richard is an MVP and was working on the PowerShell Ask The Experts booth this year. His blog has some good coverage of PowerShell at the event, as do many of the others I’m linking to in this post.

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Having initially struggled to find the PowerShell Ask The Experts booth (it only had a small sign and wasn’t on the plan, because it was incorporated into the System Center stand for some reason), I was pleased to get there to meet PowerShell MVPs Dmitry Sotnikov, the man behind PowerGUI and the AD cmdlets (two essential FREE PowerShell products from Quest) and Tobias Weltner, the creator of my PowerShell IDE of choice: PowerShell Plus (and author of many books!). It was interesting to be present for a discussion between the two of the new features in their forthcoming versions – at this stage I’d say it sounds like it’ll be worth continuing to use both!

The PowerShell presentations kicked off with Dmitry taking his turn in the heats of the Speaker Idol competition. He deservedly won the heat and went on to come 2nd overall in the final, talking about about monitoring and improving the performance of your PowerShell scripts.

Then, after I enjoyed a pleasant lunch with Jeffrey Snover (the architect of PowerShell!) and MVPs Marc van Orsouw (aka: /\/\o\/\/ the PowerShell Guy) and Vasily Gusev, there was an excellent PowerShell Panel Discussion, made possible with the support of PowerShellCommunity.org* and hosted by Jonathan Medd (from the Get-Scripting podcast). It wasn’t in the conference schedule as it was pulled together a bit late, but I think everyone involved/present, and those in the community who have already heard the audio (UPDATE: video now available in low and higher definition), thought it was a very worthwhile item to go on the agenda of these conferences in future.


(photo by Rolf Masuch, leader of the German PowerShell UserGroup)

There were a couple of great sessions by Jeffrey Snover, the architect of PowerShell, on Version 2.  You can see his session PowerShell V2 – the next stage in the IT revolution online now – it’s a great watch. One of those V2 sessions was co-presented by Ben Pearce (who became famous for his Windows, PowerShell and WMI: Unveiling Microsoft’s Best Kept Secret presentation) who told us of his dream – hopefully the video for that one will be available soon. I also attended Jeffrey’s interactive session, PowerShell for Advanced Users and Experts, where Jonathan Medd from kindly gave me credit for redefining CSV as “Character-Separated Values” during a discussion of the new delimiter parameter on the import-csv and export-csv cmdlets in V2. (I’m not sure that I quite have the right to redefine such a stalwart of the industry, but we’ll go with it!)

Incidenta
lly, it was in that interactive session that we heard that the December release of PowerShell V2 may actually be Beta 1, rather than CTP3. We’ll have to wait and see.

IMG_0902

Other PowerShell sessions that I attended were presented by various product teams around Microsoft. One of the most interesting was “Windows Server 2008 R2 Active Directory: What’s Coming Up?”, which can be watched online, or you can check out Dmitry’s excellent notes from the session. The sessions “SQL Server PowerShell Provider Overview” and “PowerShell Provider for IIS 7.0” proved that product teams within Microsoft are pushing forward with PowerShell, but haven’t necessarily got it quite right yet (and there was too much C# in the IIS session!).

James O’Neill did a very good lunchtime product demo, showing reporting with PowerShell, creating OpenXML (Office 2007) files, OneNote notebooks, and using a neat Microsoft Research product called .NetMap. James has blogged his slides and scripts from the session and is going to post explanations soon.

Thursday evening saw the PowerShell Community Dinner with all those named above, along with Thomas Lee from Culminis and Global Knowledge, Per Østergaard, Magnus Lindegren and Thorbjörn Sjövold from Special Operations Software, Sivaprasad Padisetty, Microsoft’s Director of Development on the PowerShell team, and yours truly. This was the highlight of the week for me – it was a great group of people, all of whom I look forward to seeing again. The community around PowerShell is one of the great reasons to be involved with the product – I’m glad to be part of it!

IMG_0918 IMG_0943 IMG_0933

IMG_0934 <- Thorbjörn used to use loads of code before; the PowerShell for the same tasks is only this big! ;-)

The one downer on the evening was that Thomas had his wallet stolen after we left the restaurant. Unfortunately Barcelona isn’t the safest place at night.

I’ve got the rest of my photos from the dinner on SkyDrive.

* PowerShellCommunity.org, and especially Hal Rottenburg of the PowerScripting Podcast, was instrumental in making the panel discussion possible. They are seeking opinions on how best to channel their efforts at future conventions - please take the survey.

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