Announcing PlatyPS 2.0.0-Preview1

Jason Helmick

PlatyPS is the primary tool for creating the PowerShell help displayed using Get-Help.

What is PlatyPS

PowerShell external help files have been authored by hand or using complex tool chains and stored as MAML XML for use as console help. MAML is cumbersome to edit by hand, and common tools and editors don’t support it for complex scenarios like they do with markdown. Markdown is adopted widely by Open Source, supported by many editors including Visual Studio Code, and with minimal rules, easier to author. PlatyPS is provided as a solution to allow documenting PowerShell help in any editor or tool that supports markdown.

PlatyPS handles PowerShell documentation for complex scenarios (e.g. very large, closed source, and/or C#/binary modules) where it may be desirable to have documentation abstracted away from the codebase. PlatyPS does not need source access to generate documentation. PlatyPS solves this scenario today at Microsoft by delivering updatable help files for PowerShell, SCCM, Windows, and other supported modules. Module authors may also use PlatyPS to create the help that ships with their modules.

Announcing PlatyPS 2.0-Preview1

We are pleased to announce the release of PlatyPS 2.0.0-Preview1.

Our main goal for the 2.0.0 release is to maintain compatibility while fixing long standing issues. We are re-writing PlatyPS in C# to leverage the existing markdown C# library allowing us to address many of the open issues and make schema improvements recommended by the community. The main functionality of PlatyPS remains unchanged except for community suggested bug fixes and enhancements. We do expect a few necessary breaking changes in future previews.

In this Preview release, we focused on:

  • re-write in C# leveraging Markdig for parsing markdown.
  • updated New-MarkdownHelp
  • updated Get-MarkdownMetadata

Future preview releases will include more performance improvements and cmdlet updates.

What’s supported

PlatyPS 2.0.0-Preview1 is currently available for download from the PowerShell Gallery.

Supported PowerShell versions for PlatyPS 2.0.0:

  • Windows PowerShell 5.1+
  • PowerShell 7.0+

Installing PlatyPS

To begin working with PlatyPS 2.0 Preview1, download and install the PlatyPS module from PSGallery.

Install-Module PlatyPS -AllowPrerelease

Markdown Schema Updates

Markdown is designed to be human-readable, without rendering. This makes writing and editing easy and efficient. Many editors support markdown including Visual Studio Code. PlatyPS expects markdown to be authored in a particular way. We have defined a schema to determine how parameters are described, where scripts examples are shown, and so on.

The schema closely resembles the existing output format of the Get-Help cmdlet in PowerShell. If you break the schema in your markdown, you will receive error messages.

For more information about the planned changes, see the PlatyPS Design Specification. Note, this is a draft specification subject to change.

Documentation to get started

For information about PlatyPS including cmdlet reference, see PlatypS

For additional information and examples of working with PlatyPS, see Create XML-based help using PlatyPS.

Call to action

Our goal is to make it easier to update and maintain module/cmdlet help files. We value your ideas and feedback. Stop by our GitHub repository and let us know of any issues or features you would like added.

For more information about PlatyPS issues and features, see: PlatyPS on GitHub

Jason Helmick Program Manager, PowerShell


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