As alluded to in my last post, there were a number of really powerful products already available (in beta at least) when I started using PowerShell. One of those products in particular has been a big source of inspiration to my becoming more involved in PowerShell and the PowerShell Community.
PowerGUI is a wonderful little free product that wraps an extendible user interface around a PowerShell host. You can download it here, no registration required. This product allows users to extend an administrative console with their own PowerShell scripts, allowing them to build a rich, customized user experience with very little cost and minimal if any user interface code. Scripts are stored associated to nodes that appear in a tree and associated to links and actions that appear next to a data grid. Out of the box it comes with a few scripts pre-loaded into nodes, links and actions. One example is the Services node which has a script associated with it that will get all services on the local machine. All PowerShell scripts that are available through the PowerGUI user interface can be viewed and modified at any time.
Additional nodes, links and actions may be added by any user through the PowerGUI user interface, or they may be added by importing one of the many free PowerPacks that are available. A PowerPack is a collection of PowerShell scripts that are made available to end users through extensions to the PowerGUI user interface (nodes, links and actions). Any PowerGUI user can extend their PowerGUI interface further by downloading PowerPacks from the library on the popular PowerGUI Community site. Once downloaded, users simply have to import the PowerPacks into the PowerGUI console.
If you’re new to PowerGUI or PowerShell, I recommend you download the Integrated PowerShell Help PowerPack. I designed this PowerPack to facilitate getting at some of the rich help information that is inherent in PowerShell. One of the great features of PowerShell is that its help information is readily available through PowerShell scripts; the only trouble is that you have to know what cmdlets to call in your script to get at that help information. This PowerPack helps alleviate some of that pain by allowing users to find the help information in a user interface and by allowing them to see the PowerShell script that was used to get the information.
The PowerGUI Community is fairly active, with more and more new users showing up in the forums all the time. It has proven to be a great place to ask questions or notify the PowerGUI team about any defects or enhancement requests. The PowerGUI team is very responsive to posts on the forums, and many features in the current version of the product are there because users requested them through the PowerGUI site. I’m so happy with the features that have been added to the product so far that I can’t wait to see what is coming next. The forums are freely readable, but if you wish to post anything you must first register.
In a nutshell, PowerGUI is a great little program that belongs in the toolbox of anyone who works with PowerShell, and the
PowerGUI Community is a great source of information related to PowerGUI and PowerShell. I highly recommend them both!