PowerShell is an awesome tool. Granted there is a learning curve but once you get going you will love it. I continue to be surprised at the number of SharePoint admins that still have never used PS. A recent SP pilot offered a good opportunity, so I thought this would be a good time to increase the number of disciples…

So during a progress review, I popped open the laptop and started to show how easy it is. Unconsciously, I fired up PowerShell ISE, the OOTB editor. It’s almost second nature to me to use ISE and because that’s how I got started, after graduating from the universal Notepad app, because that’s how I like to learn by getting dirty and reading SDKs. But unfortunately, it’s not a good tool for ramping up folks quickly, especially ones that have the “just show me what I need to know” mentality.

So, I remembered that when I did the 2-day PowerShell workshop a couple of years ago (which by the way was very well attended), I used Idera’s PowerShell Plus for all my my demos and examples. I loved it, and admins from all the 4 different cities also loved it. But unfortunately I didn’t have PSP installed on the laptop so I had to use ISE.

So here are some tips for learning PS using the ISE. ISE is a very good tool but you have to do at least 2 things to really make it a good experience:

1. You need a reference to the online PS commandlets; there are several but I used this one: Index of SharePoint Server 2010 Windows PowerShell cmdlets

2. Modify the ISE to include the SharePoint snap-in, PSSnapin "Microsoft.SharePoint.PowerShell". I recently saw Kirk Evan’s blog post that summarizes how to do this so kudos to Kirk for not being lazy like me. If you don’t do this, it can be a frustrating experience for new users to constantly add this to the top of every script they write. So experienced folks are probably saying, why don’t you just use the SharePoint 2010 Management Shell shortcut to open the ISE? Well, that is the last step I tell folks, but I want them to understand some the key under-the-hood details as part of their learning experience, so they understand what to do when things go wrong.

Well the learning experience went very well and in the end we added several new PS disciples. You may want to graduate to a more powerful editor environment so I suggest 3 tools below, as well as I’ll refer you to a good review “PowerShell Editor Roundup” of editors, all though it’s a little dated.

You should download the Mastering PowerShell free book. This will tell you more than you wanted to know. Also, a new Windows PowerShell Command Builder tool has recently been released that provides a GUI environment for learning that may help as well. Plus, there is a wealth of information, free scripts, etc. so just go Bing and get busy.

So, I have vowed to add PowerShell training to any pilot I do in the future to increase the base of believers.

Maybe it’s time for another multi-city, PowerShell Admin training tour. Fun, fun, fun…..

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Tools:

PowerGUI

Sapien PrimalScript

PowerShell Plus

Other Resources:

Gary Lapointe’s blog

Windows PowerShell for SharePoint Server 2010

Mastering PowerShell

PowerShell Editor Roundup: Who's the Winner?

SharePoint 2010 Products administration by using Windows PowerShell

Best PowerShell Editor & Debugger