PowerShell My Father’s Command Line Part 26 of 31: Start Spreading the News…

I’m watching this week’s episode of Glee again while writing this post, and the “I Love New York/New York, New York” mashup really inspired this title. I have to give a shoutout to my dad in the title, as while he isn’t technologically inclined, he taught me the value of networking and establishing relationships. He was a union leader for the city’s emergency response service for many years, and in those years, I watched as he networked with people in his line of work and those who impacted his line of work – councilpeople, mayors, senators, and the like. Watching him, I learned how to network and how to participate in communities.

Up until this point, Matt and I have been talking about scripts and code in PowerShell, but there’s more than just that. If the language didn’t have a community behind it, it would fall flat and not continue on like it has been. So let’s do a shoutout to some of those in the PowerShell community!

2011 Scripting Games

Hey, Scripting Guy!, the Scripting Games, and the Scripting Wife!

Ed Wilson is also known as the Scripting Guy over at Microsoft. He answers languages on various scripting technologies, with PowerShell being the focus nowadays. Whether he’s answering questions in the Hey, Scripting Guy! blog, posting on Twitter as @scriptingguys, speaking at various events throughout the world, or writing books, Ed is a great community resource when it comes to PowerShell! One of the events that he promotes on his blog are the Scripting Games, and the 2011 Scripting Games were no exception! This is a great contest for testing your scripting chops against other PowerShell scripters, competing in either a beginner or advanced level. What made it even neater to follow this year was that Scripting Wife joined the games. While I didn’t have time to participate this year due to other timing conflicts, I did enjoy reading the journeys of Scripting Wife as she learned working with PowerShell. Check out the Hey, Scripting Guy blog, as Ed covers some of the topics that you’ve probably wondered about.

PowerScripting Podcast

PowerScripting Podcast

Hosted by Hal Rottenberg and Jonathan Walz, the PowerScripting podcast is recorded live on UStream every Thursday night at 9:30pm Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -4). They feature various people in the PowerShell community – including talking with Jeffrey Snover (father of PowerShell), the directors of PowerShellCommunity.org, PowerShell MVPs, people on the PowerShell team, vendors of PowerShell products, and even those on product group teams whose products can benefit from PowerShell. While recording, they’ll take questions from the audience via the chat channel. I was able to catch the show on PowerShellCommunity.org, and it was neat to see how they record the podcast. After recording the show, the hosts play music while wrapping up the show – always great to rock out with these guys! Matt and I will be on PowerScripting tonight talking about our book and our love of PowerShell!
PowerShellCommunity.org

PowerShellCommunity.org

Run by the community for the community, PowerShellCommunity.org features news, forums, learning resources, steps for forming a PowerShell user group, and a poshcode.org-powered script repository. Special thanks to the sponsors of the site who provide financial support to enable the online community presence and support local PowerShell user groups – including Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2, Quest Software, SAPIEN Technologies, Inc., Compellent, Idera, and Pragma Systems.

PowerShell.com

PowerShell.com is another community for PowerShell scripts, tips & tricks, webcasts, blogs, and other resources. Once again, Idera and Compellent are sponsoring another community resource (in addition to PowerShellCommunity.org). Concentrated Technology and nSoftware also sponsor PowerShell.com. This site also features the Master-PowerShell eBook written by Dr. Tobias Weltner. Yet another great resource for PowerShell scripters!


Get-ToThePrompt -at PowerGUI.org

PowerGUI.org

Quest Software, Inc. runs PowerGUI.org, a free community for PowerGUI users. PowerGUI is a script editor and administrative console based on PowerShell. Their community site includes tutorials, PowerPacks, forums, wikis, demos, and other goodies related to PowerGUI. If you’re using PowerGUI, then this site is a must-have resource!

#powershell on irc.freenode.net

If you’re an IRC user, definitely check out the #powershell channel on irc.freenode.net. Don’t have an IRC client? mIRC, xChat, and others are out there. Of course, freenode is awesome and has a webchat available!

Others?

These are just a few of the PowerShell resources and communities out there. Got any you want to recommend that I haven’t mentioned here? Leave me a comment!

Scripting – It’s Not Just for Developers!

Recently, Matt sent me this article on IT Pros are not feeling the love from Microsoft and asked for my feedback. Now I need to qualify this for those who don’t know me that (1) I used to work in IT doing system and database administration and desktop support and (2) I’m married to an awesome IT guy who helps keep me up on IT technology that I don’t necessarily pay close attention to.

Fears of the Cloud

In the clouds...

While there’s the cloud fear, IT pros need to understand that while we developers can write for the cloud, we don’t always necessarily understand the support and setup issues from an infrastructure point of view. So you IT pros shouldn’t feel threatened by these technologies – you need to understand that IT isn’t getting eliminated by these. But you also need to understand the cloud so that you can support your developers who are writing for it. And if the recent BPOS outages and the Amazon cloud outage are signs of anything, clouds can be unstable and you IT pros need to be able to help support your companies when their clouds fail and need to recover to something else. (And of course, there are private clouds… so don’t think you’ll get pushed out with cloud computing.)

Ch-ch-ch-changes

Ms. Shinder mentions that most people are resistant change, which is true. However, if you’re working in technology and resistant to change, then you’re in the wrong industry. Technology is constantly changing, and if you want to go forward in your career, you need to keep up with it. Falling behind leaves you to being that legacy support person. While you hang on to old technologies, they inevitably will be phased out and then you’ll be out of a job and find it hard to get into something new because you resisted change in an ever-changing field.

Code Monkey Like You?

Then there’s the case of IT pros evolving into developers. How many people really enjoy having to visit each machine in their care for updates? Wouldn’t it be easier if you could push out machine image updates automatically? Sure, you could setup a Ghost session and update a lab in downtime via multicast (ah the memories), but you could also probably script the process and not have to be there to click the “Yes” / “No” prompts that may come up. Silent installers don’t typically just work automatically – you have to run an executable at a command line with typically a /s or some other switch. If you’re familiar with working at a command prompt for tasks like that, then PowerShell isn’t as complicated or as scary as you think.

IT pros who are smart about staying ahead of the curve understand the importance of automating processes and making management easier. Be it with shell scripts in a Unix shell, VBScripts, WScripts, JScripts, batch scripts… it’s not as if scripting is new to IT work. I know some IT pros of yore who used Perl scripts to help with server management. If you were an IT pro then, I could understand complaining about scripting – while the logic (thinking about it in English) to solving a problem was simple, the syntax was pretty screwy. At least PowerShell comes a bit closer to being easier to understand – Start-Service does just what it says it does. There may be other parameters after a command, but you know what… the PowerShell help system is awesome enough to help you figure this out. You don’t have to dig through man pages or try to find online documentation. You have Get-Help Command –examples, and there are useful examples with descriptions to help you on your way.

Demystifying PowerShell

PowerShell is easy to navigate and easy to learn. It doesn’t take a lot of effort if you already have a scripting background. And if you don’t have a scripting background… as long as you can think the problem out in English, there’re guides out there who can help you through this. Matt and I have written a book that is good for just that – guiding the average IT pro with minimal to no scripting background through the craziness known as PowerShell. Give our book a chance to change that ‘PowerHell’ experience to ‘PowerFull’.