A Year Of Weekly Blog Posts – Lessons Learned

With this post, I’ve got a new post up on this blog every Wednesday morning for a year. I’m pretty proud of that! There are certainly more prolific bloggers out there, especially in this space, but for me, this is quite the accomplishment. This is weekly consecutive blog post number 53.

In celebration of getting through a full year of weekly blog posts on topics of PowerShell, DevOps, automation and IT strategy, in this post I’ll share some of the lessons I’ve learned. This isn’t a big list of everything you need to know to blog, or even things that might work for you, but just things I’ve learned about blogging over the last year.

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New in PowerShell 6: Positive And Negative Parameter Validation

If you’ve written at least a couple of advanced PowerShell functions, you’re probably no stranger to parameter validation. These are the attributes you attach to parameters to make sure that they match a certain regular expression using [ValidatePattern()], or that when they are plugged into a certain script, that it evaluates to true using [ValidateScript({})]. You’ve probably also used [ValidateRange()] to make sure a number falls between a min and a max value that you specified.

In PowerShell 6, though, there’s something new and cool you can do with ValidateRange. You can specify in a convenient new syntax that the value must be positive or negative.

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Display All The Claims For A User Visiting Your .NET Core Azure Web App

Regular visitors of this blog are used to seeing PowerShell and DevOps content, and this is a little bit of a divergence since it’s written in C#, and it’s a .NET Core MVC Azure Web App, but if it found itself on my plate, maybe it will find itself on yours. I was tasked with writing an Azure Web App that users would visit, sign into using their Azure Active Directory (ie: “Work or School”) account, to test if their Conditional Access and MFA was configured properly. Once logged in, a little information about the user is displayed.

Here’s how to pop all the claim information for an authenticated user into a Razor Page.

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Script Share: Disable Azure AD MFA Without Wiping User Options

How’s this for a niche topic? If you want to move to Azure AD P2 Conditional Access and have users who are on P1 MFA, then in order to move them over, you have to disable and re-enable MFA on their account – or at least that’s what one PFE told me. The problem is, when you do that, you lose their options like if they prefer to enter a code from the app, receive a text, etc. by default. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could keep that stuff?

Well, you can!

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A Crash Course In Building Your Own PSScriptAnalyzer Rules – My PowerShell & DevOps Global Summit Session Recording

I had the pleasure of presenting a session at the PowerShell and DevOps Global Summit in Bellevue in April 2018 and the session recordings went live last week. My session was titled A Crash Course in Building Your Own PSScriptAnalyzer Rules and it’s a pretty fast 45 minutes. I’ve been getting lots of wonderful feedback on it, so if this is something you might be into, please give the recording a watch! It’s easier than you might think.

Click here if the embedded video doesn’t work: https://youtu.be/_T8wLsbTWJY


Forcing A Non-Terminating Error To Be Displayed In PowerShell

In full disclosure, this post contains information that a user experience expert might frown at. I’m not really sure, since I’m not a user experience expert. I do know a lot about PowerShell, however, and that’s really what this post is about.

Say you have users of your scripts and modules who might have their $ErrorActionPreference set to SilentlyContinue or maybe you know for a fact that your code explicitly sets it that way. That’s probably another thing that will make the user experience pros mad but here you are anyway. Let’s just say that your stakeholders FORCED you to do it. What happens if you absolutely need to, have to, must display a non-terminating error, such as those you create with Write-Error? Here’s one option.

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Writing Your Own Custom VSCode Snippets

If you’ve seen any of the recent talks from Microsoft employees and MVPs about PowerShell, it’s hard to miss that Visual Studio Code (VS Code/VSCode) is the new hot place to be writing your PowerShell code. VSCode with the PowerShell extension is the current Microsoft-recommended coding environment, whereas it used to be PowerShell ISE. ISE isn’t dead (there are lots of posts on that), it’s just considered to be complete, and all current development effort is focused on VSCode.

Great! Well, one of the things I like in my editor is my own custom snippets. I don’t have very many, but I use the ones I have pretty often. Here’s how to make one in VSCode.

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Lean Coffee

I’ve just got back from the PowerShell and DevOps Global Summit in Bellevue, WA where I had the great pleasure of attending tons of excellent sessions on a bunch of PowerShell and DevOps topics. The main tracks were all recorded (hopefully uploaded soon, will update with link) but the side sessions were not.

I didn’t attend many of the side sessions, but one that I did was Glenn Sarti, who is a dev at Puppet. His session was on Lean Coffee, which I think is my new favorite format for informal meetings.

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