July, 2008

  • Eric White's Blog

    PowerTools for Open XML: Binary Install Available


    Staff Dot Net, a consultancy and training company, is now providing binary builds of the PowerTools for Open XML.  You can download the binary build here.

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    Note that this binary build still requires .NET 3.5 to be installed.  The PowerTools use LINQ to XML as its XML programming interface.

    I'm really happy that someone in the community has jumped in and volunteered to help in this way.  This makes it much easier to get started.  You no longer need to use Visual Studio to build and install the PowerTools.  You can download the binary, install it, and start using the PowerTools cmdlets straight away.

    A couple of developers at Staff Dot Net have started blogging:

    • Róger Bermúdez has a really great post on how to install and use the binary.  He then presents a very cool script that sends CPU usage statistics in a spreadsheet by bulk email to a list of recipients.  He also gives a short and sweet introduction to the PowerTools.
    • Antonio Zamora has an interesting post on using PowerTools to automate securing Open XML documents.  This combined with the automatic emailing capabilities of PowerShell makes me think of interesting scenarios.

    Staff Dot Net is offering professional support and services for the PowerTools.  They can help if you need:

    • Automated document generation
    • Integration of PowerTools for Open XML within SharePoint workflows
    • New cmdlets to be integrated into the PowerTools, modification of existing cmdlets, or custom cmdlets for unique scenarios
    • Automated conversion of Open XML documents to other formats, such as HTML.

    Some of their developers have also joined the PowerTools for Open XML v-team.  I'm really enthused about the caliber of developers that are interested in PowerShell and Open XML.

    Also, check out their other interesting Open XML products, including an application that loads an Open XML spreadsheet (SpreadsheetML) with information coming from a table in an SQL Server Database. 

    Staff Dot Net, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, was one of the developers of the PowerTools.  I worked closely with them, particularly Róger Bermúdez, over the past several months.  They are a pleasure to work with.

    This post introduces the PowerTools. The post includes a short screen cast that shows how to build and use them.  I'm happy that the 'how to build' part can now be removed from that video.

    One of the fun things about working on a project like this is the opportunity to meet interesting, competent people.  James Brundage, a member of the PowerShell team, contacted me shortly after PowerTools 1.0 was released.  He has deep knowledge of PowerShell, and is well known for his posts on using WPF with PowerShell.  We've had a number of very interesting discussions, including the merits of implementing the PowerTools as a PowerShell provider, and more sophisticated ways to set and get the content of documents.  He had an interesting idea - could you automate a process where you take the results of a LINQ query and surface them as objects that play nicely in PowerShell?  This would write most of the code for a cmdlet that, say, retrieved all paragraphs of a document, and surfaced them as objects with properties such as Style, Text, Comment.  Comment would be a list of all comments for a paragraph.  Then you could just write a number of cool LINQ to XML queries over all sorts of places in Open XML, and start using them in cmdlets with very little pain or effort.  This is a really cool idea.

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