7 highly useful PowerShell tools

    Ah, PowerShell. A easy blue window and a few textual content has reworked the world of Windows administration from a point-and-click GUI to scripts that automate all the pieces, in addition to present log rotation and identification lifecycle administration and govern which server receives which updates.Everything within the latest variations of Windows Server in addition to Microsoft 365, Azure, Intune, Viva, and all the different cloud jazz is accessible primarily through PowerShell and solely secondarily (and generally even under no circumstances) through the server’s GUI or an internet interface. That means PowerShell information has change into a should. Sometimes, although, it’s tough to know whether or not you’re continuing appropriately. Luckily, there are assets obtainable that can assist velocity you alongside in your coaching {and professional} tasks.In this slideshow, I’ll spotlight seven assets for immersing your self within the PowerShell world. Whether you’re writing scripts, working in a DevOps-oriented setting, or administering software program from distributors aside from Microsoft utilizing PowerShell, there’s something for everybody on this group of assets. Best of all, they’re principally free (as in beer), save for 2 glorious paid merchandise — one with a restricted free-forever model and one with a 45-day free trial.What are you ready for? Let’s dive in.This story was initially printed in March 2015 and up to date in March 2023.1. Ironman PowerShell Universal Jonathan Hassell / IDG

    If it’s essential to do it in PowerShell, PowerShell Universal will help you do it higher. (Click picture to enlarge it.)

    PowerShell Universal is an extremely helpful administration and growth software that helps you construct web-based PowerShell scripts and run all of them from one spot. Think of PowerShell Universal as a whiteboard for constructing scripts that include APIs (both newly created APIs or ones you construct your self), invoking different scripts (together with the built-in PowerShell cmdlets and scripts that include many server purposes), and delegating skills to different directors — the thought being you’ve a central repository for administrative capabilities personalized to your particular setting. PowerShell Universal comes with numerous obtainable templates that will help you get began with numerous duties, together with administering Active Directory customers and teams, constructing terminal-based person interfaces for extra difficult scripts to deal with completely different inputs and instances, changing C# code to and from PowerShell, and extra. If it’s essential to do it in PowerShell, this software can in all probability make it look higher, run extra accessibly, and make it simpler in your workers to make use of again and again.There’s a free model that doesn’t embrace enterprise options, which can be found for $500 per server (server being outlined as the place the scripts and server interface are hosted), with reductions obtainable for multiple server. Available for almost each platform, together with Windows, Linux, Mac, and Docker. 2. ScriptRunner ActionPacks script collections Jonathan Hassell / IDG

    Choose from 1,500+ ScriptRunner scripts to study by instance. (Click picture to enlarge it.)

    Sometimes, and particularly if studying PowerShell isn’t your full-time job, studying by instance from different scripts is a fast solution to get stuff completed. You can see how one other scripter made a software, modify it and customise it to your wants primarily based on extra focused analysis — “OK, I see how she’s taking the results and putting them into an array, and then feeding those results one by one to another cmdlet, so I can use the same approach with this set of data” — and lower your Time to Fully Functioning Script significantly.There are few higher locations to search for inspiration and instance than ScriptRunner’s set of PowerShell scripts. There are greater than 1,500 scripts unfold throughout matters reminiscent of Active Directory, Exchange, Microsoft 365, VMware, Windows Server, and extra. They are all simply accessible on GitHub and freely obtainable for obtain. Marry these pattern scripts with some automation and accessibility glue from the beforehand profiled Ironman PowerShell Unlimited, and you’ve got your self a strong base from which to begin your automation journey.Free.3. Visual Studio Code and PowerShell for Visual Studio Code Jonathan Hassell / IDG

    Download Visual Studio Code and the PowerShell for Visual Studio Code plug-in instantly. You received’t be sorry. (Click picture to enlarge it.)

    When I first wrote this story in early 2015, Visual Studio Code had not but been born, and the world was a darker place. Script modifying occurred in Notepad or third-party textual content editors. Colors had been pale. Food tasted bland. Perhaps that’s a little bit of hyperbole, however when you’re not conversant in VS Code, it’s Microsoft’s tremendously helpful and free code editor, a lighter-weight however nonetheless highly effective model of its industrial-strength Visual Studio built-in growth setting (IDE). VS Code incorporates a variety of useful options for manipulating and writing code and scripts, and the PowerShell for Visual Studio Code plug-in lights up some particular treats throughout the product for the PowerShell language, together with syntax highlighting, code snippets, IntelliSense (for serving to you write the correct syntax in cmdlets proper throughout the context of the editor window), navigation options like Go To and Find for cmdlets and variables, native script debugging, and — maybe most significantly — a selection of coloration schemes.Visual Studio Code is extraordinarily useful to have round for lots of duties, together with fast textual content modifying, marking up HTML paperwork, whipping up fast shell scripts, and extra. The PowerShell plug-in makes it all of the extra helpful. Both can be found free of charge and completely value a direct obtain and set up.Free.4. Sapien Technologies PowerShell Studio 2023 Jonathan Hassell / IDG

    For constructing superior PowerShell scripts, PowerShell Studio is definitely worth the worth of admission. (Click picture to enlarge it.)

    More superior PowerShell builders and directors want extra superior tooling, and PowerShell Studio 2023 from Sapien is the primary place to look. When you first open PowerShell Studio, you’re instantly reminded of Visual Studio, and for good purpose: PowerShell Studio is as a lot an built-in scripting setting as Visual Studio is an built-in growth setting. Features embrace Ribbon, distant debugging assist, compiler options that allow you to flip scripts into executable recordsdata, assist for a number of variations of PowerShell (helpful for focusing on scripts to completely different servers operating completely different ranges of the Windows Server working system), supply management for checking out and in script code, and assist for a number of builders. All of which make this an apparent selection for retailers the place directors and builders work collectively on constructing superior PowerShell scripts to deal with a wide range of situations.It is slightly dear: $499 per perpetual license, or you may subscribe for a yr at $25/month or $250 single fee. And be warned: its setup program says you want over 5GB of area to put in it. (I suppose it’s a superb factor storage is affordable nowadays.) But contemplating all the product’s capabilities, when you stay on this a part of the PowerShell world, it’s nicely value the price of admission, and you’ll strive a 45-day check drive to see if it really works for you.5. Amazon AWS Tools for PowerShell Jonathan Hassell / IDG

    AWS Tools for PowerShell helps you automate the administration of Amazon providers. (Click picture to enlarge it.)

    Since its launch in 2006, PowerShell has change into ubiquitous as a scripting language for administrative use in massive server methods. Even a aggressive cloud service like Amazon Web Services acknowledges that (a) Windows Server is big, (b) a lot of directors are studying PowerShell, and (c) something that lets directors handle Amazon providers extra simply will increase the probability that an Amazon server will stick in any given enterprise. Thus, the AWS Tools for PowerShell had been born.With AWS Tools for PowerShell, you may handle digital machines and repair cases which are operating within the Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), or write scripts that automate the administration of any workloads you’ve operating in a wide range of Amazon providers. The instruments set up a bunch of cmdlets into your PowerShell “sphere of influence” and allow you to handle and script duties like backing up information from digital machines in EC2 to the Simple Storage Service (S3) or logging and publishing metrics to the Amazon CloudWatch private dashboard.If PowerShell and you utilize Amazon cloud providers, these instruments might be a terrific addition.Free.6. PowerShell Tools for Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code Jonathan Hassell / IDG

    Ironman’s PowerShell Pro Tools make it simpler to put in writing PowerShell code in Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code. (Click picture to enlarge it.)

    Another helpful package deal from Ironman Software is PowerShell Pro Tools, a software program bundle that makes writing PowerShell code simpler in each Microsoft’s primary Visual Studio product as nicely the freely obtainable Visual Studio Code editor.This challenge integrates inside Visual Studio, brings syntax highlighting and colours to the IDE, and provides IntelliSense assist for robotically finishing syntax parts like variables, cmdlets, and arguments as you kind inside a Visual Studio window. It additionally extends choices for configuring Visual Studio tasks so you may hold your scripting efforts organized and collectively, extends assist for scripting arguments with the MS Build compiler, and helps script debugging through breakpoint and breakpoint pane assist. It additionally extends some testing options with Pester and PSate check adapters.For people, prices vary from $10 month-to-month to a one-time perpetual license of $100; there’s additionally an Ironman Bundle that features perpetual licenses to PowerShell ProTools and PowerShell Universal for $150. Prices are modestly larger for organizations: $20/person/month or $200/person for a perpetual license.7. VMware PowerCLI Jonathan Hassell / IDG

    PowerCLI integrates PowerShell for managing VMware environments. (Click picture to enlarge it.)

    Like Amazon, VMware has found out that, in some respects, making good along with your rivals for the good thing about your mutual clients isn’t a nasty factor. To that finish, VMware created PowerCLI, a command line-based setting for managing VMware vSphere assets that integrates PowerShell all through.The PowerCLI setting is mainly a bunch of cmdlets that work together with vSphere and vCloud. It additionally supplies interfaces primarily based on C# and PowerShell for the assorted APIs which are uncovered by the VMware merchandise. If you’re a VMware store and wish to get your arms on PowerCLI, head over to this hyperlink. Is it not nice when everybody performs properly collectively within the sandbox?Free, with a free cmdlet reference as nicely.

    Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.

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