The heat is on! Enter the PowerGUI® Challenge today!

Last month I announced the PowerGUI Challenge, a contest that gives you the opportunity to win some money while having fun with PowerShell and PowerGUI.  Well the contest is going on right now (it started last Friday), and contestants have already started submitting their entries.  This is a great way to collect feedback from the community which allows you to make your entries even better.  The contest runs from October 15, 2010 to November 15, 2010 and it gives you a rare opportunity to show your PowerShell talent to a line-up of fantastic judges.

So far we have two entries, one in each category:

  • a Copy to Colorized HTML Add-on for the PowerGUI Script Editor that makes it easier to copy and paste your scripts into HTML compliant programs like Microsoft Outlook or Windows Live Writer with line numbers and syntax highlighting preserved; and
  • a SharePoint 2010 PowerPack for the PowerGUI Admin Console that allows you to manage some SharePoint entities that were missing or buried in Central Admin from an easy to use management console.

These are great entries, and since they were posted early the authors will be able to collect feedback and improve their entries before the contest finishes.  One of them has already received quite a bit of feedback and posted an update, and we’re not even a week into the contest yet!

If you’re interested in participating in the contest, here is what you should do:

  1. Visit the contest page to familiarize yourself with the rules and to discover the resources that are available to you.  There is a lot of information out there to help you out once you know where to find it.
  2. Decide whether or not you want to create a PowerPack (management interface extension) for the PowerGUI Admin Console or an Add-on for the Script Editor.  If you work with products that have PowerShell interfaces for them already, creating a PowerPack is really easy.  In fact, you might even be able to do it in 10 minutes.  There are plenty of products out there with PowerShell support that don’t have a PowerPack already, so pick your favorite and put a PowerPack together.  Some possibilities that come to mind are the System Center products, Forefront products, and Intel’s vPro module.  There are plenty of others too.  If you prefer working with scripts and the command line than a user interface, think about additional features you would like to see in the PowerGUI Script Editor and try adding them yourself.  There are a lot of Add-ons available already to give you samples to work with, plus an Add-on Authoring Toolkit and a tutorial to help you get started.  There are even snippets to make it easier to create Add-on extensions.  There are tons of possibilities for Add-ons, and you’re only limited to where your imagination can take you.
  3. Ask questions!  Anyone including the judges can answer questions you have about the contest or about PowerPack and Add-on creation.  If you have a cool idea but you’re not sure how to do it with PowerShell scripts, ask!  I have contestants who contact me regularly with questions via direct mail, and others who post questions on the PowerGUI Forums.  These resources are there to help you out, even during the contest period, so use them early and often to help you get ahead on your entry.
  4. Learn by example.  There are tons of PowerPacks and Add-ons available in the PowerGUI Library.  If you’re trying to figure something out, there are likely other PowerPacks or Add-ons out there that do something similar.  They are all open source, so you can see the PowerShell scripts that drive their functionality.  These are great resources!
  5. Post early, update often.  The community is already established to give you feedback, so use it to your advantage.  Leveraging the community will only help make your contest entry stronger.

You can use either PowerGUI Pro or PowerGUI to create your Add-ons and PowerPacks, and anything you create will work in both products so pick your favorite and get started soon!  I look forward to seeing your entries, and will be happy to answer any questions you may have along the way to help you out.  Have fun!

Kirk out.

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