We’ll continue our Wednesday Featured Forum blog posts by taking a look at another forum that plenty of you out there may have never visited. We’re going to look into the world of PowerShell, a tool that makes many of our lives so much easier.
Never heard of PowerShell? Well, I couldn’t say it any better than Ed Wilson already has, so please feel free to take a look at this question that was answered over on the Hey, Scripting Guy! blog for some basics and background (I recommend checking out the subsequent ‘Why?’ post as well):
Sounds interesting, right?
If you’ve decided that PowerShell sounds like something that you’d like to learn more about you should definitely come visit us over in the Windows PowerShell forum (found in the Windows Server forum category):
I first started frequenting the Windows PowerShell forum about three and a half years ago, when I had no real knowledge of what PowerShell could do. I was a sysadmin who had a few years of VBScript experience and didn’t really get why I should bother learning a new scripting language when I could already do most of what I needed to using VBScript.
Being curious and reading through the forum over a period of a few weeks changed my mind though. I found that I could replicate a (relatively) lengthy bit of VBScript with a single line of PowerShell and I never looked back. Not only does PowerShell require less typing, it also has the (IMHO) best feature ever. It’s self-documenting! Online documentation is great and all, but sometimes you might find yourself in a tough situation where your Internet access may be cut off and you really need to get something working.
All you need to do to get help with a PowerShell cmdlet is to use Get-Help. That’s it. And if that wasn’t great enough already, Get-Help can actually help you with itself. Really – open up a PowerShell console and type in Get-Help Get-Help if you don’t believe me. [Get-Help protip – use the built-in ‘help’ function if you want your output to be paged instead of shown all at once. Try help help and see what I mean. h/t jrv]
Still, sometimes there are questions and situations where simple help text won’t really be all that helpful. That’s where we at the Windows PowerShell forum come in. We do our best to help the folks who come visit us make sense out of their questions and issues that they’re facing. All we ask is to see your script (or your beginnings of a script, you certainly don’t need a fully working script to post a question), your errors, and what your questions are.
If you’re new to PowerShell, I highly recommend reading the questions that are posted and learning from the experiences of others. Once you’ve gotten the basics down and have started feeling more comfortable with PowerShell, jump on in and start answering questions with us!
Answering forum questions was my way of learning more about what PowerShell could do and how far it can take us. You don’t need to be a PowerShell master to contribute to the community, you just need to come with an open mind and a desire to learn new things. For me, the hardest part of learning something new like PowerShell was having a real-life goal to work towards achieving. Being active in the Windows PowerShell forum can provide you with many new challenges to tackle and concepts to learn about.
Drop by sometime and join us. We’re always looking forward to meeting new folks who want to learn more about PowerShell.