Tag Archives: PowerShell

Atlanta Code Camp 2012

It’s time again for the Atlanta Code Camp! Still a few hours left to register, you can do so at http://www.atlantacodecamp.com/. Why would you want to come? Well for one to see me, I’ll be giving two presentations.

The first is right after lunch, The Decoder Ring to DW/BI (Data Warehousing / Business Intelligence). In this talk I’ll walk through all the concepts behind designing a data warehouse, including some real world examples to help you understand the differences between Facts, Dimensions, Surrogate Keys, and more.

You may think a BI talk is an odd one for a developer oriented day. More and more though developers are being directed toward the data warehouse to get information for their applications, to combine with the system they are designing. Understanding how data warehouses work will give you a leg up when your company establishes it’s own data warehouse.

The slides for my presentations can be downloaded HERE.

My second session is “Become a PowerShell Pop Star”. In this very fast session we’ll start at ground zero with PowerShell, Microsoft’s scripting language. You’ll see all about cmdlets, variables, functions, programming and more.

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PowerShell Help Community Edition

Last week when I blogged about iPowerShell from Sapien, I mentioned they had a few free community tools. One of those is PowerShell Help Community Edition.

As you can see, it provides a simple, easy to you way to navigate help in PowerShell. I find this especially nice as I often have my editor open in one window and want help files or other reference materials open in a second. Down the left is a tree which allows you to navigate to the type of object you are seeking help for. It also supports search, you can see the search results pane in the lower right.

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Like iPowerShell, it uses the standard PowerShell help format, so you can add in any PowerShell help file, just as you can with iPowerShell. Best part is the price, it’s free! Just go to Sapien’s website, to the download center, and navigate to the Community Tools section. Select your flavor (32 or 64 bit).

One little quirk I was having that someone in the support forums helped me with, and this was a Windows issue not a PowerShell Help issue. I wanted to create a docked shortcut for this right in the Windows 7 task bar, but it wasn’t letting me. Turns out if you have the word Help in your file name Windows “protects” you by not letting you add it to the task bar. I created a shortcut, renamed the shortcut to remove the e in Help from the file name, and all was well with the universe.

iPowerShell

As a consultant I travel a lot, and am usually on my small laptop with it’s 13 inch screen. A great size for travel, but a bit small on occasion. Doing PowerShell I often want to look things up, but it’s a pain having to jump back and forth between my editor and the help.

I have e-books on PowerShell which I can read on my various e-book devices, but as you might expect with a book they are not highly interactive. So the other day I ran across a solution for, of all things, my iPad.

It’s called iPowerShell, from the folks at Sapien. It was less than five dollars (US), and they have both iPad and iPhone / iPod Touch versions. It provides interactive access to the PowerShell help system, allowing you to quickly drill down into Cmdlets, Aliases, Providers, and more.

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What I love most about iPowerShell is it’s extensibility. It uses the standard PowerShell help file format. That means you can write your own custom help files and use them not just in regular PowerShell but iPowerShell and other products that incorporate standard help.

This brings up some great possibilities. Many companies have generated their own set of custom modules and cmdlets. Often they have already created help files to go with them. Now those same help files can be used by simply importing them into iPowerShell.

If I had any wishes for iPowerShell, there’s be two. First, it’d be nice to have the basic syntax included. For example, there’s two ways to do the foreach command, it’d be nice to have those documented for easy lookup in iPowerShell. Second, right now the cmdlets are sorted alphabetically by the verbs. It’d be nice if there was a way to have them sorted by the nouns. There is a search feature though, which greatly alleviates that need.

Incidentally I found out about the tool because of my post on PowerShell Training. Over on the BIDN version of the post, a reader had posted a link to Windows PowerShell 2.0 TFM by Don Jones and Jeffery Hicks. This is an extremely comprehensive book, one that I immediately bought and have been reading ever since (hence explaining why I was up until 2 am this morning). You can get it in PDF format directly from Sapien at the link above, or in print format from Amazon. Highly recommended.

Sapien has some other cool, free community tools I plan to blog about in the near future, so stay tuned. In the meantime if you are both a PowerShell coder and iPod / iPhone / iPod Touch owner I think you’ll enjoy this inexpensive app.

PowerShell Training Resources

OK, I admit it. I love PowerShell! It’s the way to go when you want to do automation. Not only that, it has the ability to hook into all aspects of the Microsoft tool stack. Not just SQL Server, but SharePoint, Exchange, Windows Server, and more. So here are some of my favorite resources for learning PowerShell.

A quick disclaimer, some of the links below are by co-workers or other people I have an affiliation with, financial or otherwise. That’s because I’m lucky enough to work with some of the best people in the field. Also, in the case of the books I’ve linked to the Kindle version where possible, mostly because I’m a Kindle junkie. There are paper versions of the books, and you are free to buy from your favorite retailer.

Books

Windows PowerShell in Action, Second Edition – If you are only going to buy one PowerShell book, this is “The” book as folks say. It’s one of the two that gets referenced quite often. Note the prior link is to Amazon, where you can only get the paper (aka “dead tree”) version. You can get electronic versions (Kindle, PDF, and ePub) directly from the publishers website.

PowerShell In Practice -  This is the other book in my collection that gets a good workout. Lots of great examples and easy to understand. Like the previous book, the link is to the Amazon dead tree version, you can also get the electronic version from the publishers website.

Windows PowerShell 2.0 Best Practices – So you want to know if you are doing PowerShell right? As it’s title implies, this book lays out best practices to help your PowerShell solutions succeed.

Note there are a lot of other really good PowerShell books on the market that focus on using PowerShell with specific technologies such as SharePoint, SQL Server, Exchange, and Windows Server. The books I’ve listed above cover PowerShell in general.

Blogs

Richard Siddaway – This guy blogs more about PowerShell than anyone I know. It’s an invaluable resource for PowerShell. In addition he is also the author of PowerShell in Practice, listed above.

PowerShell.com – This website is a treasure trove of resources. Indeed, it could have been put into all of the sections in this post as it holds not just blogs but free e-books, forums, and webinars.

Hey Scripting Guy – Ed Wilson, author of the Best Practices book above, is “The Scripting Guy”. Ed works on the PowerShell team at Microsoft and is very active in the PowerShell community.

Podcasts

PowerScripting Podcast – A great show out of Atlanta, has a lot of information about PowerShell especially for beginners. The website also has a lot of useful links. I always learn something new listening to their show.

Get-Scripting – If you are out of the UK you’ll appreciate this PowerShell Podcast. Has a focus on PowerShell with VMWare’s PowerCLI.

Videos

Pluralsight – I know Pluralsight has a great series on PowerShell, as I’m the one who authored them! In addition Pluralsight has an extensive catalog of other courses you can pick from. It’s subscription bases so there is a modest fee (starts at $29 US per month last I checked) but well worth it for the training you can get. There’s also a free trial.

For a quick link direct to this post, you can use http://bit.ly/arcaneps