Well over a year ago our Information Experience team set out to redefine the way Microsoft delivers narrative and executable guidance to customers. We wanted to embrace prevailing trends such as the democratization of information – especially as it relates to the importance of community contributions – and of course automation with one of the main goals being to increase both the productivity and quality of our audiences contributions.
For our IT Pro audience this meant recognizing that many of the tasks being performed by IT Pro’s are now being implemented entirely in PowerShell. We also recognized that many of these tasks are similar across organizations – which has led to a number of different script repositories existing on the web – including but not limited to the Microsoft Script Center. After talking with many large customers they recognized the value in these repositories but also wanted to establish internal corporate repositories with scripts and modules that were customized for their organizations and fully trusted for execution within a production environment.
This of course led us to Microsoft® Script Explorer for Windows PowerShell® (Script Explorer). Script Explorer enables you to search for PowerShell scripts on your local computer, your local network and intranet, and of course online script repositories. You are shown available scripts that are organized by category, and can search for scripts from local and trusted community repositories by applying filters based on focus areas.
Script search results return information about script usage, code samples, and articles about the scripts. When you find the scripts you that you need, you can download and store the scripts and use them at a later time. Script Explorer isn’t just about scripts. It also allows you to find other assets such as modules, script snippets (for use in Windows 8 ISE) and even allows you to view how-to guidance topics from Windows PowerShell commands and community resources such as TechNet wiki pages to get started with Windows PowerShell.
Some of the underlying concepts behind Script Explorer derive from the vision of a semantic web – one in which information has meaning– where searching for a PowerShell Script returns only pages that contain
PowerShell scripts – not just pages that contain the words “PowerShell Script”. This approach will enable tools such as Script Explorer to take advantage of that meaning and provide much richer information experiences. In a future blog post I will touch on the underlying design of Script Explorer and how we are embracing a semantic web… but for now please give Script Explorer a test drive. For those fortunate to already be running Windows 8 Beta you will be glad to know it runs on both Windows 7 and Windows 8 Beta.
Download the beta of Microsoft Script Explorer for Windows PowerShell from here and let us know how it helps you. We would really like to hear from you.