Earth Day 2011 – PowerGUI® Style!

Today is Earth Day 2011, and you can celebrate your green side in style with the latest PowerGUI® wallpaper.  As an ecoholic myself, this wallpaper is definitely among my favorites.

Show your Earth Day pride, and download this beautiful desktop wallpaper today! If it doesn’t suit your style, check out the rest of the desktop wallpaper images we have in the Wallpaper category on PowerGUI.org.  There are plenty to choose from!

Kirk out.

The 2011 Scripting Games have begun!

2011_ScriptGames_GREEN_SPONSOR (2)

Today marks the beginning of Microsoft’s 2011 Scripting Games.  The Scripting Games are a great way to have fun learning more about Windows PowerShell.  There are even great prizes available to be won.  There are 10 events, with a beginner and an advanced category for each event.

To participate, all you have to do is:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the information on the 2011 Scripting Games page.
  2. Register by signing in to the 2011 Scripting Games page on PoshCode.org.
  3. Keep your eye on the Hey, Scripting Guy! blog to see when new events are posted (both the beginner and advanced Event 1 details are available now!).
  4. Publish solutions to any events you decide to do on the PoshCode.org contribute page.

That’s pretty much all there is to it.  You can participate in both the beginner and the advanced categories, or you can spend all of your time focused on one category.  You can enter solutions for all events in a category, or you can cherry pick the events you have time for and enter only those.  You can start today with the first event, or join in later once the competition is already underway.  There are really no limitations on how much or how little that you have to participate in the Scripting Games.  Some prizes are available for the highest ranking participant, but others can be won simply by participating in a single event, so throw your hat into the ring and learn more about PowerShell while having fun and you might even win something.

Quest Software is an official sponsor of the Scripting Games again this year, and we have contributed many licenses of PowerGUI® Pro to the pool of prizes to be won.  If you’d like a chance to win one of the licenses that are available, all you have to do is participate in the Scripting Games by entering at least one event.  The more events you participate in the more you will increase your chances of winning.  Participating is easy, so you really should consider taking the time to give it a try…you just might learn something.

Good luck!

Kirk out.

Happy 4th Birthday PowerGUI®!

Today is PowerGUI’s 4th birthday, and what would a birthday be without cake?  The awesome graphic artists that provide me with all of our fun desktop wallpaper for PowerGUI have done it again with a new desktop wallpaper image to celebrate PowerGUI’s birthday.  You can download it from the downloads page on PowerGUI.org, or you can click on this picture to download a high-resolution version directly:

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It’s hard to believe it’s been 4 years already since PowerGUI was first made available for download on March 28, 2007.  What an amazing 4 years it has been too! What started out as a free extensible Administrative Console based on Windows PowerShell has grown into an award winning product that also includes a free extensible Script Editor with tons of useful features like Intellisense, syntax highlighting, script snippets, script signing, and many, many more.  There’s even a Pro version called PowerGUI® Pro that adds Version Control, Easy Remote Script Execution, and a component called MobileShell that allows you to perform systems management from your handheld device!

It’s been great fun having a direct hand in helping make this happen, but this product would not be what it is today without the support that we have received from the community!  Your feedback and support through our PowerGUI.org community site, on Twitter, on FaceBook, and blogs and articles around the web has been fantastic and it’s something that I appreciate every single day!  Thank you for helping this product to continue to grow!

I hope you enjoy celebrating PowerGUI’s birthday with us this week with the fantastic wallpaper, and look forward to continuing to watch this product grow for many years to come!

Enjoy!

Kirk out.

PowerGUI® Spring 2011 Desktop Wallpaper

Spring is here already, and even though it doesn’t seem like it’s Spring everywhere just yet (it has been snowing most of the day here in Ottawa), with the change in seasons comes a change in desktop wallpaper.  The Spring 2011 wallpaper for PowerGUI Pro and PowerGUI is now available:

PowerGUI Spring 2011 Wallpaper Thumbnail

To download this wallpaper, simply visit the PowerGUI downloads page and scroll down to see all of the sizes and varieties that are available.  We have Fall wallpaper there as well for our friends in the southern hemisphere.  As always, all of our wallpaper images are stored in the Wallpaper folder on PowerGUI.org, so if you want to use one from a previous year or a different season or holiday, take a look around…there are currently 27 different varieties to choose from.

Enjoy!

Kirk out.

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with PowerGUI®!

Our creative design team has just provided me with another fun desktop wallpaper to share with you, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.  If shamrocks and gold are your thing this time of year, download the St. Patrick’s Day PowerGUI wallpaper from PowerGUI.org and show your pride!

As usual, it comes in two different flavors: one with the freeware train and one with the PowerGUI Pro train.  Each screenshot has 8 different resolutions available, so pick whichever one suits you best.  I already have the PowerGUI Pro version installed on my laptop.

Enjoy!

Kirk out.

P.S. I can’t help but wonder what the little PowerGUI train had to drink that made gold bubbles come out of his smokestack. Smile

PowerShell Deep Dive Conference: April 17-19, 2011 in Las Vegas

In case you haven’t heard already, there is a huge opportunity coming up to learn a lot more about PowerShell very quickly and interact directly with dozens of PowerShell experts face to face at the same time.  Next month marks the first ever PowerShell-specific conference, the PowerShell Deep Dive.  This conference will be held in the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada from April 17-19, 2011, and it will be an amazing experience for anyone interested in learning more about PowerShell.  The Deep Dive sessions will all be presented on April 18 and 19, following the welcome reception on the night of April 17.

Don’t be too intimidated by the name “Deep Dive” though.  The sessions will be a deep dive into PowerShell, that’s true, but there is a half-day 300-level Windows PowerShell Pre-Deep Dive Crash Course with Don Jones on April 17, 2011 that can help bring you up to speed if you’re close but not quite there yet.

Also, if you act now by emailing TEC2011@quest.com and sign up before the end of March, your Deep Dive conference fee will only cost you $850 US.  For the depth of knowledge covered and the calibre of the presentations and the attendees who will be attending, this conference is going to be worth every penny.

Speaking of attendees, you really should check out who’s already confirmed they will be attending this event.  Here’s a list of only a few of the speakers and attendees who have signed up so far:

    What’s incredible is that this list is only showing some of the amazing talent that will be at this event.  I would have recommended it as a must-attend event even with only a small fraction of the superstars I have listed above attending, but with this line-up, plus many, many more PowerShell superstars, this is going to be one truly memorable experience.
    I’ll be attending as well of course (I wouldn’t miss it!), and while there I will be presenting a full session on “Managing Hyper-V with PowerShell” and a Deep Dive talk on “Defining domain specific vocabularies using Windows PowerShell” as well.

Have I sold you on the idea yet?  If you want to learn more, head on over to the PowerShell Deep Dive page and read more about the event, or if you’ve already decided send an email to TEC2011@quest.com today to make sure you can take advantage of the $850 US pricing before the end of March!

Hope to see you in Vegas!

Kirk out.

PowerGUI® Script Editor Essentials 2.0

Last week I had an absolutely incredible week at the 2011 MVP Summit.  It was without a doubt the best business trip I have ever taken, bar none.  What makes a conference great for me is not the sessions (although the sessions were awesome).  For me it’s all about the attendees.  Being able to interact every day for an entire week with PowerShell MVPs and Microsoft PowerShell team members was truly an incredible experience, something that you just don’t get day to day when you’re in the office dealing with so many distractions.

While at the Summit I was meeting with some PowerShell MVPs, chatting about PowerGUI and PowerGUI Pro, and getting feedback on the two products (and taking a lot of notes!).  Claus Nielsen, a fellow PowerShell MVP from Denmark was sharing some of his ideas with me and one feature he requested was scroll buttons for our tabbed document interface to allow you to scroll the view to other tabs.  This is useful when you have many tabs open and you want to reorganize them or just scroll through the ones you have open.

I get a lot of requests from the online community as well, some of which come via twitter.  These don’t necessarily come from MVPs, although the one I’m about to use as an example does.  Brian H. Madsen (@csharpzealot) tweeted about having issues when running PowerGUI and not realizing he was in the 32-bit version of the console on a 64-bit machine.  Since you can run PowerGUI in 32-bit or 64-bit, elevated or not, it can be very useful to know how you opened it when you are working with the product.

Other feedback comes in the form of direct email.  One of our internal support reps was trying to figure out how to tell what encoding was used when saving a ps1 file because he was working with another product that didn’t seem to support that encoding.

A lot of this feedback turns into enhancement requests for the core product, but there are also many ideas that turn into features I can quickly implement in an Add-on.  All of the ideas I just mentioned in this post fall into the latter case, and between early mornings in my hotel room in Bellevue last week and a little time yesterday afternoon, I have finished implementing these (and more) in version 2.0 of the PowerGUI Script Editor Essentials Add-on.  This Add-on is definitely one of my favorites, right up there with the Blue Console Add-on and the Script Signing Add-on.  It comes with an indispensible feature set and whenever I install PowerGUI on a new system I immediately notice that it is missing and have to install it right away.

PowerGUI Script Editor Essentials 2.0 includes the following enhancements:

  • You can now view and change the current file encoding by using the File | Encoding submenu.  The menu items in this submenu will automatically save the current file and the checked item indicates the current encoding for the current file.
  • You can now use scroll buttons to view all of the tabs that you have open.  These scroll buttons are enabled by default, but you can always hide them or bring them back by using the View | Tab Scroll Buttons menu item.
  • You can now see more useful status information in the status bar.  This includes:
    • the current file encoding for saved files;
    • the current process architecture (64-bit or 32-bit) for 64-bit machines; and
    • the current elevation status if you are running PowerGUI in an elevated process.
      Here’s a screenshot showing you what the Script Editor looks like in an elevated process on a 64-bit system once you have this Add-on loaded:

image

I also fixed an issue preventing the shortcuts in this Add-on from working on some non-English operating systems, and I added icons that were missing for the Increase Indent and Decrease Indent menu items so that they show up as regular buttons if you add them to your toolbar.

These features are in addition to the features that came in the first version of this Add-on, which include support for :

  • enabling Word Wrap in your documents;
  • showing Whitespace in your documents;
  • using Virtual Whitespace when editing documents;
  • Zoom in and Zoom out while working with a document;
  • opening multiple files at once from the File | Open dialog; and
  • filtering for *.ps1xml, *.psc1, *.xml and *.txt files in the File | Open dialog.
    If you’d like to try this Add-on, follow these three steps:

1. Open the PowerGUI Script Editor and select Tools | Find Add-ons Online… in the menu.

2. In the dialog that appears, enter “Script Editor Essentials” into the text box and click on the Search button.

3. Once the Script Editor Essentials Add-on shows up in the results, click on the Add-on to select it and then click on the Install button to install the Add-on. This will download, unblock, install and load the Add-on in your Script Editor, and you’ll have these features in your favorite Script Editor in no time!

If you’re not connected to the web, you can also install this manually by following the steps outlined on the Script Editor Essentials Add-on page on PowerGUI.org.

    Now that this update is released, what else do you think qualifies as a Script Editor Essential feature?  As you can see, community feedback drives what we do, so please share your ideas!  We are listening.

Kirk out.

Create your own color theme for the embedded console in PowerGUI®

I really like the native PowerShell console look and feel.  Something about the blue theme applied to the native console puts me in a comfort zone, and it just works for me.  For a long time I have wanted to have the exact same color theme to be applied to the embedded PowerShell console in PowerGUI, and with the release of PowerGUI 2.4 I can finally create that theme.

Here’s what the themed console looks like in PowerGUI now that we have full color support:

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If you would like the same experience in your embedded console, all you need to do is install the Blue Console Add-on in PowerGUI by following these three steps:

1. Open the PowerGUI Script Editor and select Tools | Find Add-ons Online… in the menu.

2. In the dialog that appears, enter “Blue Console” into the text box and click on the Search button.

3. Once the Blue Console Add-on shows up in the results, click on the Add-on to select it and then click on the Install button to install the Add-on.  This will download, unblock, install and load the Add-on in your Script Editor, and you’ll have a native blue theme applied in no time!

If you’re not connected to the web, you can also install this manually by following the steps outlined on the Blue Console Add-on page on PowerGUI.org.

Now that the PowerGUI Script Editor SDK supports any color in the embedded console, you can even create your own themes.  The Add-on is just a PowerShell module and you can look at how it sets the colors internally to see how you could create your own theme.  If you’re feeling ambitious, you could even build a theme-chooser Add-on something like the Script Colors Add-on by Denniver Reining and allow people to import/export color themes so that they can share them with one another.  I think an Add-on like that would be fantastic for the Script Editor, and I can already think of a half dozen features I’d like to see in it.  If you’re going to create an Add-on, be sure to install the Authoring Toolkit Add-on that I blogged about yesterday so that you’re working with all of the tools available to make it easier for you.

Enjoy!

Kirk out.

PowerGUI® Script Editor Authoring Toolkit Add-on 2.0

Have you ever thought of a feature that you wished was included as part of the PowerGUI Script Editor?  When thinking about features you would like to see, did you realize that you can create many features yourself and share them with others?  The rich Add-on SDK that is included in the PowerGUI Script Editor allows you to do just that.  This SDK allows you to customize the Script Editor to your hearts content, adding, modifying or removing menus, submenus, menu items, toolbar, toolbar buttons, editor commands, or dockable windows.  It also allows you to work directly with the contents of documents that are open in the editor, or use events to control editor behaviour.

Today Add-on creation with the PowerGUI Script Editor SDK just got even easier.  I just published version 2.0 of the Authoring Toolkit Add-on on PowerGUI.org.  This Add-on adds a File | New | Add-on… menu item as well as a toolbar button to facilitate the creation of the Add-on itself, just like it did before.  What it also includes now though is a set of 49 snippets that facilitate working with the Script Editor SDK.  Want to create a new menu item?  There’s a snippet for that.  How about a toolbar button?  Or a dockable window?  There are snippets for those too.  There are even snippets for adding invoking and invoked events to commands included in the editor, allowing you to override or extend the behaviour of commands that are included in the Script Editor by default.  Some of these snippets were previously published as a separate download that you had to manually install on your system.  In the new 2.0 release, there are about 50% more snippets than in the past, the existing snippets have been updated to support new features added to PowerGUI 2.4, and these snippets are automatically installed with the Authoring Toolkit Add-on so that you can get started with your own Add-ons much more quickly.

To experiment with Add-on creation, all you need to do is follow four easy steps:

1. Open the PowerGUI Script Editor and select Tools | Find Add-ons Online… in the menu.

2. In the dialog that appears, enter “Authoring Toolkit” into the text box and click on the Search button.

3. Once the Authoring Toolkit Add-on shows up in the results, click on the Add-on to select it and then click on the Install button to install the Add-on.

4. Wait a moment while the Add-on downloads, unblocks, installs and loads in the Script Editor.  Now select File | New | Add-on… to start creating an Add-on and then with your Add-on psm1 file open, select Edit | Insert Snippet… to start inserting Add-on snippets in your Add-on.

Once you have the Authoring Toolkit Add-on installed, I recommend watching the “Create an Add-on in 10 Minutes” screencast to see how you can create your own Add-on.  Fast forward the parts that show you how to set-up the Add-on and the snippets because you just did that, and watch the rest of the demo showing how you can create your own Add-on in only 10 minutes.

At this point you should be pretty much ready to get started with your first Add-on, but extra documentation never hurts.  If you would like to read more about Add-on creation, I recommend the Add-on SDK documentation and the Building Your First PowerGUI Script Editor Add-on tutorial.  Both of these resources may come in handy as you experiment with the Add-on SDK.

Thanks for listening, and if you have any feedback or suggestions that you would like to share, or questions you would like to ask about Add-on creation or anything else PowerShell or PowerGUI related, I’m always listening.

Kirk out.

PowerGUI® Pro and PowerGUI® 2.4 are now available!

I am pleased to announce that PowerGUI Pro 2.4 and PowerGUI 2.4 have been released to the web and are now available for download!

This release includes the following improvements:

Easy Remote Script Execution (PowerGUI Pro only)

The PowerGUI Pro Script Editor now supports easy remote execution of scripts.  You can now run an entire script or a portion of a script on one or more systems using PowerShell 2.0 remoting.  This feature allows you to either provide a static list of computer names or you can select a remoting configuration that you want to use when running your script remotely.

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See that View Remoting Script button in the screenshot above?  You can use that button to generate a script that will run your script remotely.  Clicking on that button will open the remoting script in a new document in the Script Editor so that you can then save it separately and then use it on other machines, in a scheduled task, a background job, etc.

The remoting configurations support allows you to use a static list of computer names or a script to dynamically determine the list of target computers.  You can also configure any remoting options that should be used when running the script.  This includes options for configuring the URI address, proxy server credentials, certificates, security context, background job support, throttling, and other more advanced items.

image

Remoting configurations support every remoting option that is directly available in PowerShell 2.0, and some options that are not directly available as well.

Improved MobileShell Experience with Collapsible Command Groups (PowerGUI Pro only)

When you are accessing PowerGUI Pro MobileShell from your mobile device, your commands will now appear inside of collapsible groups.  There will be one group for favorite commands and one group for each module associated to your MobileShell user account.  This new user experience makes it easier to work with a large set of commands from small mobile devices such as an iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, or Windows Phone 7 device.

Add-on Discovery and Installation

In both PowerGUI Pro and PowerGUI, the Script Editor now allows you to search for Add-ons and install them with a single button click.  This eliminates the need to manually download, unblock and load Script Editor Add-ons. With this feature you can search for Add-ons using keywords or phrases like “script signing” or “transcription”, or you can see a list of all Add-ons that are available by performing a search with no keywords.  Just open the Tools menu, and then click on Find Add-ons Online… to search for Add-ons in the Add-on category on PowerGUI.org.

image

Once you see the Add-on you want to install, simply click on it and then click on the Install button and the Add-on will download, install and load automatically in your Script Editor.

Remote session Intellisense, Syntax Highlighting and F1 Help

In an earlier release of PowerGUI Pro and PowerGUI we added support for the Enter-PSSession and Exit-PSSession cmdlets to the Script Editor to allow you to work with remote systems from within remote sessions.  In this release we’ve taken that support further, providing you with Intellisense, Syntax Highlighting and F1 help support while you are working inside of a remote session.  This makes it much easier to work with servers such as Exchange 2010 or SharePoint 2010, where remoting is required.

Automatic Reload of Modules on Runspace Reset

PowerGUI Pro and PowerGUI allow you to automatically reset your runspace every time you start debugging.  This is a feature we have had for a long time, and it allows you to debug from a clean system state.  In 2.4, this support has been enhanced so that modules are automatically reloaded when the runspace is reset in this manner, ensuring that you only have loaded what you want to have loaded.  This also ensures that any module On Remove event handlers are called before modules are reloaded again, and that modules are in a clean state when you start debugging.

Script Editor SDK Enhancements

This release of PowerGUI Pro and PowerGUI includes several enhancements to the Script Editor SDK that allow you to create more advanced Add-ons than you could in the past.  New to this version is an Execute method on the root of the SDK that allows you to invoke PowerShell commands as if you had typed them into the embedded console.  This allows more control over how Add-ons send feedback back to the end user.  Also new to this version, you can now directly access the colors used in the embedded PowerShell console via the SDK, allowing you to apply whatever color theme you want for your day-to-day use of the Script Editor.  Menu item and toolbar capabilities have been enhanced as well, so that you can get or set Checkable, Checked and Enabled properties on commands in the Script Editor, and the corresponding menu items and toolbar buttons will automatically show you the appropriate change in state.

How to Install or Upgrade

If you haven’t tried PowerGUI Pro, now’s a great time to do so.  The new remoting feature is just great, and MobileShell keeps getting better and better every time we release.  If you want to try it out, go to www.powerguipro.com and click on the Try button to try it out for a bit.

To upgrade to the new release, you can either manually check for updates by clicking on Check for Updates from the Help menu, or you can wait until the next day that you start up one of the components and it will detect the update for you automatically.  If you have disabled auto-update or if you are working on a system that does not have online access, you can download the bits for offline install by visiting Quest SupportLink if you are using PowerGUI Pro or the PowerGUI downloads page if you are using the free version of PowerGUI.

Share your feedback!

I’d love to hear what you think of these new releases, so please let me know in the comments on this blog post or in our forums on PowerGUI.org.  This is only the first of many exciting releases we have planned for this year.  If you have features you would like to see added or changed in the product, please share your feedback with us.  It directly influences what we include in our releases, and ultimately makes PowerGUI Pro and PowerGUI better for everyone!

Thanks,

Kirk out.