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Thursday
Mar262009

PowerShell: 0-60 in One Evening

VBUG Newcastle's first IT Pro event on Tuesday night was certainly a positive start, and one of my most enjoyable presentations. I promised to post links to the tools that I covered, so here they are, along with an overview and some things that I didn't get to in the presentation, which are good resources for people getting started with PowerShell...

In the first half of the session I did an overview of the PowerShell language, starting with the four cmdlets that let you discover what you can do with the shell and objects: Get-Help, Get-Command, Get-PSDrive and Get-Member. We then covered variables, arrays, objects and the pipeline, filtering and how to use the -whatif and -confirm parameters to save yourself from accidentally breaking things!

After a break for refreshments, I talked about and demoed a selection of free tools that can help you get up to speed and work better with PowerShell...

Free Tools

Help/Reference

  • TechNet Script Center's PowerShell Graphical Help which contains more than Get-Help and is nicer to browse.
  • Sapien's iPowerShell provides a handy copy of the PowerShell built-in help on iPhone and iPod Touch.

Cmdlets/Snapins/Extentions

  • /\/\o\/\/'s PowerTab is tab-completion on steriods!
  • Quest's PowerShell Commands for Active Directory provides cmdlets for managing AD objects.
  • SDM Software's GPMC PowerShell Cmdlets let you work with Group Policy objects as long as you don't way to alter the internals of a GPO (they have a paid verison for that) - the free cmdlets let you copy/link/backup/etc.
  • In the words of the Codeplex description: PowerShell Community Extensions (PSCX) is aimed at providing a widely useful set of additional cmdlets, providers, aliases, filters, functions and scripts for Windows PowerShell that members of the community have expressed interest in.

To build rich UIs with PowerShell

  • Sapien's Primal Forms is a wysiwig editor for building a Windows Forms application with PowerShell. Primal Forms does all the code for the GUI and you add in your code to add the functionality.
  • Joel Bennet's PowerBoots is a neat framework for creating Windows Presentation Foundation apps.
  • PowerShellASP lets you include PowerShell code in your existing ASP.NET applications.

The biggest recommendation of the evening was to download and try Quest's PowerGUI, for both the main application, which can help you build PowerShell code by using the GUI, and for the script editor, which is great considering it's free. You should check out the additional PowerGUI Power Packs and forums at PowerGUI.org too.

Other Resources

I particularly encourage people to check out PowerShell.com, for the forums, Tobias' excellent daily email tips, a quick link (labeled "Live Chat") to the #powershell IRC channel on freenode.net (a great place to ask your PowerShell questions), and more.

In addition, it's worth looking at:

If you're on Twitter, you can find lots of folk from the PowerShell community listed at mindofroot.com and on TweeterTags.com (where you can add the PowerShell tag to your Twitter account).

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