Archive for July, 2009

Opening up

PowerGUI_BlogrollWe have made a change in the blog post webpart at our community site – now it can provide links to blogs more than one blog. Specifically, it now features posts by myself, Kirk Munro, and Shay Levy.

For historical reasons, up to now the webpart only had posts from my blog. Which was obviously a really selfish and outdated thing to have. Shay and Kirk are these days more active on the site forums than I am, and their blogs are well worth following.

Hopefully, this makes staying in touch with the PowerGUI community even easier.

By now means this is limited to just three blogs. If you are active at and blog at least once or twice a week about PowerGUI or QAD cmdlets – please contact me and I will happily add your feed in there.

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TEC 2010 Call for Papers

Session submissions are open for The Experts Conference 2010 and if you have a few advanced (level 300-400) ideas related to directories, identity management, federation, unified communications, or SharePoint – this is your chance to get to the event.

TEC is a joined event that Microsoft and Quest are putting together. It has long been one of my favorite conferences: the level of technical expertese you find at TEC is astonishing. This is the event where you can meet the actual Microsoft product groups and they will discuss their latest and greatest technology in the works as well as collect your feedback on their thoughts for vNext (TEC 2009 in March for example had a few brainstorming sessions on AD post-2008 R2). Sessions from consultants like folks from Oxford Computing nicely add to this real-world experience on getting these cutting edge technologies to work.

All, in all – the best deep technical conference in this area and a great place to present your expertise if you have something to share. See recordings from previous TEC’s here.

Submissions accepted here. Deadline is August 25.

Oh, and obviously TEC 2009 Europe is also coming. Too late to submit a session to this one, but a good event to attend if you can: Berlin, September 14-16, 2009.

Kirk on PowerScripting Podcast

Kirk @poshoholic Munro was recently at the PowerScripting podcast and this turned out to be a pretty good discussion on PowerShell, PowerGUI, and PowerPacks (PowerGUI extension add-ons). If you missed the live interview – check out the podcast recording here.

PowerShell-Based SQL Management Console

Chad Miller @cmille19 has just published his SQL Server PowerShell Extensions PowerPack for anyone to download and use.

The console has tons of functionality to access and manage all the aspects of SQL: servers, databases, permissions, replication, services, and so on, and so forth.

And for accidental DBAs like myself it is just a great resource for managing SQL and learning how to script it (because I can see all the PowerShell code behind!) If you like myself don’t know and might not have time to learn T-SQL and standardize on PowerShell for your scripts – this is a great resource to download and start using.

Read more about the pack in Chad’s blog. Download the pack here.

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PowerShell v2 RTMed

Here’s when and how you can get it.

With Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 you will get it as a built-in component starting August 6th or a little bit later depending on which channels you can access – see full schedule here.

For Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2008 – you will need a separate free download with new remoting (WinRM) bundled in. This is coming within a few months (this did not really change since the original schedule announcement).

Also, Jeffrey Snover tweeted a few weeks ago that there was a plan to have a public CTP4 between now and the release to keep us excited while we are waiting. 😉

Hope this makes it a little more clear.

The story of PowerGUI mascot

powergui-mascot-with-carEvery now and then we get asked about the story behind the PowerGUI train logo. I told it a few times in various interviews/conversations but it looks like it was never actually posted on this blog, so here you go.

Here we were back in late 2006 getting ready to the first public beta of PowerGUI – and we needed a mascot. The team got by a whiteboard in my office for a brainstorming session. It was dark outside, everyone else had long left the building, and we could not consume any more coffee – so we knew we’d better find the solution fast. Just kidding – it was not that dramatic. 😉

We wanted something that would be associated with power (after all it is PowerGUI for PowerShell), and locomotive came as one of associations.

At the same time, we did not want to be too serious with the logo. PowerGUI was meant to be a freeware and a community effort, so we wanted something that would be friendly and personal. Kind of the opposite of regular logos for “serious” “enterprise” software.

And to add to that, I also just had my first baby born a few months before that – which I guess tends to kind of affect the way one sees the world around. 😉

This all led to us asking graphics designers to come up with some kind of cartoon-like friendly train mascot – and our logo was born. I believe the “coal” in the car that PowerGUI pulls was supposed to symbolize all the cmdlets and command-line elements (like $_ and -ne) which PowerGUI makes easier to use. 🙂

Simulacrum-bear-iconAs a free bonus, here’s one of the initial logo ideas we got while brainstorming and experimenting. I believe a few internal early builds of PowerGUI – back then code-named “Simulacrum” – had this teddy bear icon.

TechEd South Africa session on PowerGUI

If you are attending TechEd in Durban in a couple of weeks make sure you see Nicolas Blank delivering his UNC304 session:

PowerShell and Unified Communications: Taking the Mystery out of AD, Exchange and OCS Management using PowerShell (UNC304)

PowerShell is wonderful – if you know where to start or how to use it! This session will cover how to get started with PowerShell as well as moving into advanced areas of Exchange and OCS management with PowerShell. We will cover common management and migration scenarios where PowerShell can add value, learning how to run “one liners” that can “change the world” as well as using the Power of PowerShell in PowerGUI in order to have the best of both worlds – PowerShell flexibility and GUI management and much much more.

UNC304 | Mon 3 Aug (12:00 – 13:00) | 300 – Advanced| Session Room B1 | Speaker: Nicolas Blank | Breakout Session

Nicolas is an Exchange MVP and Unified Communications guru. He was one of the first guys who started using PowerShell to manage Exchange 2003 back in 2007. This year he is delivering 4 TechEd sessions! Quite an achievement. Congratulations to Nicolas and make sure you see him if you are at the show.

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PowerShell cmdlets in SharePoint 2010

[UPDATE] See this blog post for up to date SharePoint 2010 PowerShell Reference.

SharePoint has for a long time been a notable absentee at the PowerShell party – but it looks like the wait is now almost over. Technical Preview of the product shared by Microsoft just a few days ago has at least a few cmdlets shipped with it.

If you download “Customizing the Ribbon in Windows® SharePoint® Services “14”” documentation publicly available here (found this via Frank Migacz) you can find these instructions in the PDF file:

To deploy a Feature by using Windows PowerShell, you install it and then enable it by using the following commands.
Install-SPFeature FeatureId
Enable-SPFeature FeatureId -Url http://server/site/subsite

Judging by these examples, nouns in cmdlets are pre-fixed with “SP” to avoid possible naming conflicts.

I’ll keep you posted on any new developments and public information on PowerShell in SharePoint 2010.

For now, it looks like this is a huge step forward by the SharePoint team making the new version much more manageable. Awesome news and great work!

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Two-Factor Authentication with PowerShell

Another Quest product turned out to be PowerShell-enabled – Quest Defender. Defender is basically a two-factor authentication solution for network, web and application access supporting various kinds of tokens.

Anyways, the cool thing is that the team did not have to do anything to get PowerShell interface for their product. Because they store all configuration data in AD, QAD cmdlets are more or less all they need.

For example, this simple script lists all tokens and users to which they are assigned:

foreach ($token in 
    (Get-QADObject -IncludeAllProperties -Type "defender-tokenClass"))
{ Write-Output $token.Name $token."defender-tokenUsersDNs" }

Dmitry Kagansky has posted this and a few other sample scripts here.

This is a very cool eco-system/re-use example. If your product stores all configuration in Active Directory, you can just re-use AD cmdlets and you are all set.

Well, obviously Dmitry could make things even easier by wrapping his (albeit simple) scripts into PowerShell v2 advanced functions with whatif/confirm support, help, tab-completion (in case of PowerGUI editor, intellisense ;)) and so on.

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@PowerGUIorg: Now with about_ topics

Want to learn PowerShell in small easy chunks? I have just updated our @PowerGUIorg twitter bot so in addition to PowerShell cmdlet tips and forum threads, it tweets tips from PowerShell about_ topics – like this one tweeted a few hours ago:


I personally am following @PowerGUIorg myself and every now and then find myself clicking the link at the end of the message to learn something new about PowerShell. Hope you find it useful too!

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The posts on this blog are provided “as is” with no warranties and confer no rights. The opinions expressed on this site are mine and mine alone, and do not necessarily represent those of my employer - WSO2 or anyone else for that matter. All trademarks acknowledged.

© 2007-2014 Dmitry Sotnikov

July 2009

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