Weekend Scripter: Best PowerShell Resources on the Web
Summary: Ed Wilson, Microsoft Scripting Guy, talks about the best fundamental resources on the web for Windows PowerShell. Microsoft Scripting Guy, Ed Wilson, is here. One of the great things about the Microsoft Ignite conference in Chicago was getting to see and talk with so many people. Previously, there was a core group of people who went to TechEd and a core group of people who went to MEC, but there were not many people who went to both. As a result, groups were pigeon-holed. By combining the conferences into one giant conference, we were able to see, talk to, and meet people that otherwise would not be in our circles. This was true for me and for other people who attended the conference. I got to talk to a lot of people who were looking at Windows PowerShell for the first time. One person asked me, “What are the fundamental resources for learning about Windows PowerShell, for getting together with other people who use Windows PowerShell, and for finding out how to begin learning Windows PowerShell?” So I have compiled some links to the fundamentals—some of the best places to learn about Windows PowerShell.
For me, getting connected with a user group is the most basic thing you can do. In a user group, you will find others who are learning Windows PowerShell and those who are experts in the subject. This diversity of learning helps. Like in college, sometimes the graduate teaching assistant is a better teacher than the professor for a level 101 class because they recently learned the material. Sometimes a beginner in Windows PowerShell can help point the way better than a Windows PowerShell MVP. There are two basic places to find Windows PowerShell user groups:
Next to user groups, an awesome place to start is a user support forum. There are several forums available for users of Windows PowerShell. One thing to keep in mind is that when asking a question, you should always try to solve the problem first. You should state what you tried and why it did not work. A Windows PowerShell forum is not a place to ask for a Windows PowerShell script. So, you should not say, “I need a script that does this, this, and this. Can someone write it for me?” Instead, you might say, “I need a script that does this, this, and that. I found some code that does this and this, but I still cannot find out how do that. I tried searching MSDN and the Hey, Scripting Guy! Blog, but I did not find anything. Can someone point me to a location that can help me?” Here is a list of good forum locations:
- PowerShell.org Forums
- The Official Scripting Guys Forum in the TechNet Script Center
- Windows PowerShell Forum in the TechNet Script Center
Script Center Repository
I said that with forums, you should not say, “I need a script.” But in the Script Center Repository, we actually have a feature called What script do we need? The way this works is that you request a script, and maybe someone else will see the request and vote that they also need the script. Eventually, if enough people vote for the script, maybe it will be written. This is not a free script service, but it is a great place to request a script if you have tried everything else, and you simply cannot figure it out. At this point in time, there are over 11,000 scripts in the Script Center Repository, so in all likelihood, there is already a script that does basically what you need—but hey, who knows. If you can only find a script in another scripting language, it does not mean that you are out of luck. If the sample is in Perl, Java, or even VBScript, there is a good chance you can look at it, figure out what it does, and use that as a starting point in making a way cool Windows PowerShell script. By the way, of the 11,000 scripts, over 5,700 are Windows PowerShell, so we now have more Windows PowerShell scripts than anything else. WooHoo! Here is the link:
MVPs are a valuable resource of knowledge. They are MVPs because they love the product and because they love sharing their knowledge with others. If you are ready, you can find a Windows PowerShell user group that has one or more MVPs associated with it. But there are more than only Windows PowerShell MVPs—there are MVPs for all Microsoft specialties (in some form). Here is the list of MVPs, which is updated quarterly:
There are many blogs about Windows PowerShell or that have content related to Windows PowerShell. I am going to weasel out and only mention two: The Hey, Scripting Guy! Blog and the Windows PowerShell Team blog. Of course, the Hey, Scripting Guy! Blog has more Windows PowerShell content than any other blog on the Internet, and it is written by more people than me. I have had hundreds of guest bloggers over the years, who have written about some way cool, and sometimes downright strange, Windows PowerShell stuff. It is one of the things that makes the blog fun. The Honorary Scripting Guys are the real strength of the Hey, Scripting Guy! Blog. Of course, for the latest and greatest information about what is new with Windows PowerShell, check out the Windows PowerShell team blog. It contains great insights as to where Windows PowerShell is going.
I invite you to follow me on Twitter and Facebook. If you have any questions, send email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or post your questions on the Official Scripting Guys Forum. See you tomorrow. Until then, peace.
Ed Wilson, Microsoft Scripting Guy