While I have loved working at Devfarm Software for the past 11 months, circumstances have unfortunately forced us to part ways and as a result I am a free agent now and looking for a new place to hang my hat. Working with Ben Vierck and Brian Butler at Devfarm has been a fantastic experience, and if it wasn’t for the small yet annoying detail that there isn’t enough money in the company to continue to pay my salary and keep the business going full steam ahead, I’d still be working with them today.
I officially stopped working for Devfarm on July 6, but I had a few items for PowerWF 3.0 that I wasn’t quite finished with yet so I spent a good part of last week wrapping up development of those items. When I wasn’t doing that, I was hard at work on getting the public beta of wmix out the door (something that I’ll talk more about later). With wmix published and my tasks at Devfarm now complete, it’s time to focus on finding what’s next.
If you or someone you know are looking for a talented Product Manager with:
- a very strong technical background with 15 years of experience in software development and infrastructure management;
- recognized deep technical expertise as a 5-time recipient of the Microsoft MVP award for Windows PowerShell, including almost 6 years of dedicated Windows PowerShell experience;
- experience establishing a brand, building awareness, and leveraging social media in marketing;
- strong presentation skills and experience presenting at large conferences such as TechEd; and
- an entrepreneurial spirit
- then please drop me a line and lets talk about it.
This morning PowerWF and PowerSE 2.7 were released to the web and they can now be downloaded from http://www.powerwf.com. These releases offer a lot of new value to PowerWF and PowerSE users, as follows:
PowerWF 2.7 Highlights
New Start Page with New Workflows
The start page in PowerWF has been completely redesigned to provide immediate value out of the box for PowerWF customers. The new design highlights the Workflow Library that is included with PowerWF, allowing customers to play workflows in the library without opening a workflow or script document. Users can also customize the workflows on the start page and add their own groups of workflows for easier runbook automation. This immediate out of the box value is included for PowerWF customers to allow them to leverage the power of Workflows and PowerShell in their environments without requiring any knowledge of PowerShell or Workflows.
New Management Packs for System Center Service Manager (SCSM)
PowerWF for Service Manager has always included several useful management packs for SCSM in the product. In this release, even more management packs for SCSM have been added. Now, with a click of a button you can deploy management packs that automatically close resolved incidents, expire inactive problem announcements, cancel pending activities for closed change requests, identify problems from incident trends, notify incident authors about unresolved incidents, and get SCSM statistics. These management packs are only available for licensed users of PowerWF for Service Manager.
Improved Toolbox Search
The search engine in the Activity toolbox just got better! Now you can search using command names or keywords and PowerWF will return the best matches based on the terms you provided. This includes searching with keywords that are only referenced in activity documentation and not in the command name itself. For example, if you’re a VMware administrator, simply entering “vMotion” into the search box will reveal the MoveVM activity that is necessary to perform vMotion tasks.
Product-Specific Profile Support
PowerWF now uses its own product-specific profile support, and it updates the $profile variable to include the paths to each of the relevant profiles that you use. By default the PowerWF profile dot-sources the native PowerShell console profile, however you can change this behaviour as required by simply modifying the profile yourself in PowerSE.
PowerSE 2.7 Highlights
Easier Breakpoint Management
Breakpoint management in PowerSE just got a lot easier. PowerSE now includes a Breakpoints pane to allow you to see all breakpoints you have set in your scripting environment, and you can now manage breakpoints using the breakpoint cmdlets and see the breakpoints you have created in the Breakpoints pane. This gives you easy creation of line breakpoints using the Toggle Breakpoint feature or command and variable breakpoints using the Set-PSBreakpoint cmdlet (or sbp alias for short).
Breakpoints Preserved Across Sessions
Breakpoints are now automatically preserved across sessions, allowing you to continue debugging your scripts from one session to the next. They are also preserved when you close a file, so you won’t have to reset breakpoints each time you return to a script you were working on. You can still remove breakpoints of course, using the Toggle Breakpoint feature or the Remove-PSBreakpoint cmdlet.
Improved Help Search
PowerShell help topic files are now included in the help search pane, allowing you to search for help for integral keywords like if or foreach, or for topics like “Advanced functions”, or you can learn more about remoting by searching for “Remote”. Also, if no results are found when you search, PowerSE will now include a keyword search in command descriptions to allow for users to discover commands using related terms, such as “vMotion”.
Product-Specific Profile Support
PowerSE now uses its own product-specific profile support, and it updates the $profile variable to include the paths to each of the relevant profiles that you use. By default the PowerSE profile dot-sources the native PowerShell console profile, however you can change this behaviour as required by simply modifying the profile yourself in PowerSE.
And that’s not all!
This shows you a few of the highlights of this release, but of course there were plenty of bug fixes, some performance improvements, and a few other minor enhancements that were included as well. Whether you’re a current PowerWF or PowerSE customer, or someone who is looking for great tools for working with PowerShell, Workflow, and Management Packs, I strongly encourage you to give this release a try and let us know what you think.
A little over a week ago we released PowerSE 2.5.3 to the web. You can download the latest release here. This release includes many great improvements to the PowerSE product, many of which were requested by you, so thanks for your feedback and please keep it coming!
No time limit for freeware
With this release, we’ve removed the requirement to re-download this product every 60 days. This was our number one feature request since we made PowerSE a freeware product. Now when you download PowerSE 2.5.3, it is truly freeware and you can use it as long as you like!
Since PowerVI has joined the Devfarm family of products, we have now improved the integration between PowerVI and PowerSE and PowerWF. This enables easier authoring and testing of VMware automation scripts and workflows before you publish them to be integrated in the vSphere client, and it highlights one of the greatest values of the Devfarm products – the rich integration between them that make everything much easier.
Tabs to spaces support
We’ve added support for configuring how tabs are used in the PowerSE Script Editor. If you want spaces inserted when you press the Tab key while editing scripts, all you need to do is to set $psise.Settings.AutoConvertTabsToSpaces to $true in the embedded console. If you want the tab size to be something other than the default value of 4, you simply set $psise.Settings.TabSize to the number of spaces you want to use for tab characters. These only need to be set once, so you can simply make the calls in the embedded console and then you’ll always have it configured that way going forward.
Enhanced history pane
The history pane in PowerSE has always been useful, but now it’s much better! With the history pane in PowerSE 2.5.3, you can identify which commands were successful and which were not, all at a glance by looking at the icon. You can also tell which commands were allowed to run to completion and which were cancelled. Most importantly, you can identify the duration of any command that you run, so if you are trying to get the most performance from your scripts, this is an easy way to compare the performance for several related commands so that your scripts run as fast as they can.
Greatly improved support for international environments
In previous releases of PowerSE, there were a number of defects preventing international keyboard layouts (i.e. those other than “US English”) from working properly in the embedded console. Those defects have been fixed, so now you can use the embedded console with international keyboards just fine.
We also added support for Unicode characters to the embedded console, making it easier for customers to get the output they expect regardless of where they happen to be.
Multi-select support in the File|Open dialog
With PowerSE 2.5.3, you can open multiple files in one folder at once by simply selecting the files you want before you click on the Open button. This can be a big timesaver when you are working with modules containing many files!
Smarter variable Intellisense
When you enter a variable name in a script, it can be difficult to determine if you are entering the name of an existing variable or if you are creating a new variable. Previous releases would sometimes complete a variable name incorrectly when you were in fact creating a new variable name. This shouldn’t be a problem any longer, because we now allow you to enter new variable names and the auto-completion should only happen when you want it to happen.
Proper ps1xml file support
In PowerSE 2.5.3, if you are working with ps1xml files, you will now get proper Intellisense as well as auto-completion of xml elements as you would expect.
Fast clearing of the embedded console window
In today’s era of PowerShell, we all want to do more in less time, so much so that even typing in cls in the embedded console and pressing Enter can be cumbersome when you do it repeatedly. PowerSE 2.5.3 allows you to clear the embedded console window at any time by simply pressing Ctrl+Del.
This is just a short list of some of the key changes we have made in this release. There are others that I want to talk about, but I’m going to save a few for follow-up blog posts. We’ve been spending a lot of time on PowerSE recently, and between our hard work and your great feedback, we’ve built a fantastic, best-in-class PowerShell script editor! If you write PowerShell scripts, I encourage you to give this release a try, and be sure to let us know what you think! Also, if you have any questions, feel free to leave me a note on my blog or pop over to www.devfarm.com and ask us directly in the chat window. We’re always listening!
I always enjoy this time of year. There is something about the transition that happens over Labour Day weekend that always gets me excited. Maybe it’s a lingering feeling of anticipation over the new year at school or university from years gone by, a feeling that I can still appreciate these days as I watch my kids getting excited about their education and the new activities they will sign up for this fall. Regardless, it’s always a fun time of year for me.
This year though I have some extra reasons of my own to be even more excited. As of this morning, I am now working as Product Manager for the PowerWF and PowerSE products at Devfarm Software! I am absolutely thrilled about this new position! Devfarm has a great team and a great set of products, and I’m really happy to be able to help them drive those products forward.
With this news, today marks the end of a month that included some vacation time, some time to step back and refocus, and some time for reflection on what to do next. During this time I received a ton of support from friends and followers in the PowerShell community, and for that I am very grateful. This support helped one particular sentiment that I came across stay with me:
You know for a (while) I (wondered if) going back to the amazing experience of (PowerShell) wouldn’t be a good idea, but really now I’ve come completely around because (software can be) stressful and hard to make but ultimately what makes (it) fun is the people that you work with, and the fact that (I’m) going to be working with a lot of the old gang, with a lot of friends, and obviously making some new friends is really the point of being here, so I’m extremely thrilled.1
This really represents how I have felt since my departure from my last job as Product Manager for PowerGUI. I really love PowerShell as a technology, but as great as that technology is, it just wouldn’t be the same without the community that surrounds it. PowerShell is blessed to have a tremendous community, and I am very, very proud to be able to continue to participate in that same community as a Product Manager for some really cool products that use PowerShell, as a PowerShell MVP, and as a geek who fell in love with technology a long time ago.
Now that I’ve found my new direction and focus, it’s time to get down to business. Whether you’re a current user of PowerWF or PowerSE or someone who is interested in trying PowerWF or PowerSE, I’d love to connect with you to hear what you like (or don’t like) about these products as well as what you would like to see added to them in the future. Feel free to reach out to me at any time either in my blog comments or by using the Contact Me form on my blog. I’m really looking forward to working with you.
1 Paraphrased from Peter Jackson’s speech on the first day of filming for “The Hobbit”; his exact speech can be heard here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LqzJ1LFh6x0&hd=1&t=9m15s.