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Microsoft Script Explorer for Windows PowerShell

Attendees of my presentation to NEBytes in January got an early look at this, but now everyone can join in the fun because today sees the public release of Beta 1 of Microsoft Script Explorer for Windows PowerShell.

An add-in for the PowerShell ISE, as well as a standalone application, Script Explorer brings together a number of online repositories for PowerShell scripts, snippets and modules, like the TechNet Script Center and PoshCode, as well as How To guidance, to make them easy to search and browse. This is particularly useful for people new to PowerShell to find examples of code from which they can learn, but also helps more experienced users to avoid re-inventing wheels.

It's true that all of the online resources can currently be found through appropriate use of your favourite search engine, but where Script Explorer goes beyond that is in giving you the ability to search your local file system and script repositories on your network. You can create a corporate script repository and then use Script Explorer as a friendly front-end to enable others in your organisation to make use of your production-ready scripts (NB. Script Explorer isn't a development tool, so you don't get things like version control - that's why I say you should only point it at production-ready code).

Script Explorer is fully extensible, so you can configure your own focus areas and repositories. The web-based content is accessed through an aggregator that Microsoft are managing, so they can add additional resources dynamically too.

I've already started to build a corporate repository for all the scripts and snippets that I've been writing over the years - useful work that I perhaps haven't been sharing with colleagues as well as I might. I'm able to break those down into the focus areas that are specific to the services we provide and deploy that config with Script Explorer to the rest of my team. It's a definite improvement on the current hierarchical folder structure that we're using on a network share.

You can go ahead and download Microsoft Script Explorer for Windows PowerShell Beta 1 now, and if you have any issues or feedback, there's a TechNet forum dedicated to Script Explorer.

Please, please, please always be careful about running any code that you find online, even through Script Explorer. Make sure that you understand what impact it's going to have on your environment before you run it. If you can't be quite sure, try dropping a few -whatif and -confirm parameters on any cmdlet that looks like it might alter/create/delete anything and if possible, run it on a test system before it goes anywhere near anything that's in production.

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