You’ve got Help!

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Sean

You’ve got Help!

Up until now, creating updateable help has been a largely manual process. The CAB files downloaded by Update-Help had to be rebuilt and hosted on the Microsoft Download Center. The tools for managing the Download Center require manual steps and several levels of approval. These and other internal challenges meant that cmdlet help was only updated for major releases.

With the release of PowerShell 6, the PowerShell team piloted a new build process to automatically convert our Markdown documents to MAML help files, create the CAB files, and host them in Azure. This automation allowed the help for PowerShell 6+ to be updated every time we merged a new Pull Request in our documentation repository. The problem was how to scale out this solution so that every feature team with a PowerShell module could do the same thing without duplicating code and infrastructure.

For the past several months, Jason Helmick and I have been working with the PowerShell and Docs Engineering teams to create a shared, scalable, and fully-automated continuously-publishing pipeline.

So, what’s in it for you?

As of today we have have migrated the PowerShell core documentation and the ConfigurationManager module for SCCM to this new pipeline.

This means:

  • Windows users have updated help for Windows PowerShell 5.1 for the first time in years
  • Users of PowerShell 7 and higher continue to have updateable help, including the new 7.2 preview
  • SCCM admins have updated cmdlet help for the first time since 2012 SP1
  • If you make a contribution to the docs and your PR is merged, your changes show up in updated help within days (if not hours)

Starting in December, we will begin working with the Windows and Office teams to migrate their PowerShell help. And we will continue to work with other feature teams in the new year.

Stay tuned for more announcements as the work progresses.

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