Ezine 158 PowerShell’s Resources

Ezine 158 PowerShell’s Resources

This Week’s Secret

This week I want to share with you my contacts and methods for working with PowerShell.  Everyone that I have met in the PowerShell world is a true gentleman.  Other products have extremely knowledgeable people, but what sets the PowerShell community apart is their courteousness to one another, and the warm welcome which they give to newcomers. 

This Week’s Mission

This week I want to raise awareness of PowerShell Resources


My main reason for recommending forums in general is that they have provided me with solutions to numerous problems.  Sometimes the answer come up with step-by-step instructions, more often, it give me an idea, or points me in the right direction.  That said, forums aren’t magic bullet, sometimes nobody answers my request.  However, that in itself is helpful.  It says to me ‘Guy, either there is no solution to your problem’, or else, ‘Guy you are asking the wrong question in the wrong forum.’

The golden rule is so simple that you are going to wonder why I mention it.  You have to register in the forum and actually ask your question.  So many people who I suggest try this strategy reply with the whinge – ‘Guy there was nothing in that forum to help me’.  Yet they did not bother to register and present their question.  It reminds me of the old lottery joke. 
Sinner: ‘Dear God, every week I pray for a lottery win, but you never answer my prayer’.
God: ‘Dear Sinner, give me some help – buy a ticket’.

My only problem with forums in general and for PowerShell in particular is there are too many of them.  In the case of PowerShell I have joined the following forums (there are even more):

  • Microsoft.Public.Windows.PowerShell
  • PowerShellCommunity.org
  • powershelllive.com/forums/49/ShowForum.aspx 

I say again, each is run by a gentleman, I wish each of them luck, but I wish they would combine to have just one super-forum for PowerShell.

PowerGui and Quest

If you breakdown the name PowerGui to Power and GUI it tells you all you need to know about this product.  The idea is to use your mouse and select PowerShell commands from menus, this method takes care of the syntax and generates cmdlets for working projects.  PowerGui describes itself as, ‘A freeware admin console for PowerShell’.   One of the main missions of PowerGui is to build cmdlets and share them with other aficionados.  To achieve this mission, there is a community library where you can upload and download PowerShell cmdlets.

I applaud PowerGui at two levels; firstly this site helps the true dedicated scriptwriter to increase their repertoire.  But even more importantly, the extra cmdlets /scripts /snap-ins make it easier for those with only limited scripting experience to become minor experts in PowerShell.

Lots of people are going to dabble with PowerShell, those who also enter the world of PowerGui are likely to achieve more productivity, and also gain the pleasure of learning this new Microsoft Shell language.

The Quest organization supply active directory add-ons for PowerShell.  If you collect these QaDs they you can plug one of the biggest deficiencies in PowerShell v 1.0, namely the difficult of manipulating active directory objects in general and users, groups and computers in particular.

Guy Recommends: The Free IP Address Tracker (IPAT) IP Tracker

Calculating IP Address ranges is a black art, which many network managers solve by creating custom Excel spreadsheets.  IPAT cracks this problem of allocating IP addresses in networks in two ways:

For Mr Organized there is a nifty subnet calculator, you enter the network address and the subnet mask, then IPAT works out the usable addresses and their ranges. 

For Mr Lazy IPAT discovers and then displays the IP addresses of existing computers. Download the Free IP Address Tracker

PowerShell Analyzer – Text Editor

The PowerShell Analyzer is a superb text editor, and I sense that Karl Prosser and his team of developers are working hard for yet more improvements.  At the moment, they don’t have an affiliate program, but I am still happy to recommend this editor even though I don’t receive any financial benefit.

I would only recommend a script editor to those who value their time.  If you don’t truly believe that saving time means saving money then stick with notepad.  Once you make that leap of faith, and buy a proper script editor, you get color coding and line-numbers which are handy for beginners.  Perhaps the biggest benefit for intermediates is the shortcut menu that displays the available commands.  And importantly, how to spell them!  Naturally, these shortcut menus are context sensitive producing what you might call intellisense.  For advanced users there are all manner of debugging commands.

With PowerShell Analyzer the overall benefit is much greater than a feature list of the individual parts, I say again, it achieves the ultimate goal of saving time, and as a side-effect, reducing frustration to a manageable level.  It is also worth emphasising that the precise features that you find most useful will depend on your skill level.  Just trust me, if you want to learn PowerShell a text editor will make all the difference – even if it does seem pricey.

Get your evaluation copy at: http://www.powershell.com/

PowerShell Books

I actually bought a PowerShell book.  I read it from cover to cover three times, it was not bad, but I would not recommend it.  The reason that I mention this is: a) To reinforce the idea that only recommend things I truly rate, and b) To ask you if you have any PowerShell books that you would recommend.

Microsoft Download Page for PowerShell

If you need a copy of PowerShell and .Net Framework to get started, then go to Microsoft’s site.  It’s worth returning from time-to-time to look out for upgrades, for example PowerShell version 2.0. Download PowerShell

Guy Recommends: Tools4ever’s UMRAUMRA The User Management Resource Administrator

Tired of writing scripts? The User Management Resource Administrator solution by Tools4ever offers an alternative to time-consuming manual processes.

It features 100% auto provisioning, Helpdesk Delegation, Connectors to more than 130 systems/applications, Workflow Management, Self Service and many other benefits. Click on the link for more information onUMRA.

Summary of PowerShell’s Resources

You can judge when a product has ‘arrived’ by the number of spin-offs in the form of gadgets like PowerGui, editors like the PowerShell Analyzer and the plethora of forums.

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See more Windows PowerShell tutorials

PShell Home   • Introduction   • Dreams   • 3 Key Commands   • PowerShell Help About   • Get-Help

PowerShell v 3.0   • Set-ExecutionPolicy   • Get-Command   • Cmdlet scripts   • Import-Module

PowerShell Version Check   • Backtick   • PowerShell examples   • PowerShell ISE   • Get-Member

Please email me if you have a better example script. Also please report any factual mistakes, grammatical errors or broken links, I will be happy to correct the fault.