28Mar/18

April Fools PowerShell Prank: Write With All The Colors Of The Rainbow

Sometimes Write-Host gets a bad reputation. Lots of people will repeat inflammatory rhetoric that “Write-Host” kills puppies, and so on, but the only real problem with Write-Host is that people use it without knowing what it’s for. Write-Host is for writing to the console and only the console.

Other cmdlets like Write-Output are for writing to standard output which might be the console, or could be somewhere else down the pipeline. Write-Host‘s output can’t be redirected to a log file, isn’t useful in unattended execution scenarios, and can’t be piped into another command. Lots of people who are new to PowerShell get into a habit of using Write-Host when they probably should have used Write-Output or something else instead. If you have someone you’re trying to train to stop using Write-Host when it’s not needed, consider this prank, just in time for April Fools Day.

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21Mar/18

Quick Tip: PowerShell Supports Partial Parameter Names

Did you know that PowerShell supports the usage of partial parameter names? This isn’t such a big deal since tab completion is a thing… and if you’re writing code, you want to use the full parameter name to provide clarity and readability… but sometimes this is handy. Whether it’s for code golf, or just noodling around in the console, you don’t have to specify the full name of a parameter, just enough for it to be unique.

Here are some examples.

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14Mar/18

PowerShell Tip: Another Take On Progress Reporting

Normally in PowerShell if you want to report progress on a long running task, you’d use a progress bar using the Write-Progress cmdlet. That’s definitely the right way to do this, but what if you wanted a different way… for some reason? In the PowerShell Slack (invite yourself: slack.poshcode.org), I recently answered this question: “I want to write out ‘There are 3 seconds remaining. There are 2 seconds remaining.’ etc. until there are no seconds remaining and then keep going, but I don’t want them all to appear on the different lines. I basically just want the number to update.”

This gif shows what the question asker was after (except instead of counting up, they wanted a countdown).

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07Mar/18

Quick Tip: Update a Tag on an Azure Resource

Working with Azure resources can be a bit of an adventure sometimes. Say you want to update a tag on an Azure resource. Not remove it, but change its value. If you try to add a tag with the same name but different value, you’ll get an error that the tag already exists. Some of the ways you have available to get rid of a tag involve dropping all the other tags assigned to a resource. So, what do you do?

In this example, I have a couple VMs with a tag named “user” and a value of “thmsrynr”, and I want to keep the tag but change the value to “Thomas”.

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28Feb/18

Azure Automation: Diving Deeper (Pluralsight Course)

I’m very excited to share that my newest Pluralsight course was published over the weekend: Azure Automation: Diving Deeper. This builds on my first course, Getting Started with Azure Automation.

Pluralsight is a paid service but trials are available, and it’s a benefit of having an MSDN subscription. They’ve got thousands of hours of good stuff for people working in all areas of technology, including my new course.

My Azure Automation: Diving Deeper course will teach you everything you need to know to put Azure Automation on your resume, market yourself as an IT Automation pro, and increase your worth as a professional. Please check it out and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or feedback.

As a Pluralsight author, I am compensated for creating courses, so this is technically a sponsored post. I do, however, truly believe in their service, and think that many people who read my blog may benefit from watching my courses.

21Feb/18

Regex Example: Strip Out HTML Tags

First and foremost, HTML is not regex friendly. You should not try to parse HTML in PowerShell, or using regular expressions unless you’ve lost some kind of bet or want to punish yourself for something. PowerShell has things like ConvertTo-HTML that will make that kind of thing way less migraine inducing.

That said, I recently had a situation where I just wanted to strip all the HTML tags out of a string. My input looked something like this (assigned to a variable $html).

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07Feb/18

Quick Tip: Did the last command work or not?

In PowerShell, there is usually at least a few ways to do most tasks and detecting if the last command resulted in an error or if it worked is no exception. You could wrap code in a try/catch block, but sometimes that’s overkill. Regardless of your reason for wanting to get the work/borked status of the last command, here are a couple simple ways of doing it.

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31Jan/18

Looking for someone to do a session on PowerShell (or DevOps or IT strategy or cloud architecture)? I’m your guy.

Are you a user group leader or event organizer who’s looking for speakers? I’d love to connect. I do my best to keep my eye out for CFPs and other speaker solicitations, but it doesn’t hurt to advertise my availability. Most of the dates I’m available to travel for speaking events in 2018 are taken, but I still have a bunch of dates I’m available to do virtual and remote events.

Here’s a list of sessions and their abstracts that I’ve got prepared and would love to present. If you see one you like, I’m best reached by email at thmsrynr@outlook.com or on Twitter at @MrThomasRayner. My bio is on the About page of this blog. If you like me but don’t see a session your attendees would love, I hope you’ll reach out anyway and we can see what I can come up with specifically for your event.

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24Jan/18

PowerShell: Control What Order Properties Are Displayed On A Custom Objects And Hash Tables

There are a handful of different ways to create custom objects in PowerShell, including building one from a hash table. You might do something like this.

But then, just run $obj and see what you get. This is what I got.

It put prop2 before prop1 even though I put prop1 first in the hash table! Most of the time, this doesn’t matter, but what about when it does?

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