Remember when computers were fun? If you have been using PowerShell, then you’ll notice that the fun got put back into working with computers. Part of the fun is discovering new things – I mean isn’t that part of the fun?
PowerShell is a tool that improves your management capabilities but what a lot of admins miss is how large of an ecosystem that has evolved around PowerShell. It’s amazing to think that in a few short years PowerShell has grown from a couple of hundred cmdlet’s to thousands – covering a wide variety of Microsoft products. This means that there is probably something lurking out in the PowerShell Universe that you haven’t discovered that might be of some help. Using the discovery capabilities of Get-Help is the important and practical way to discover cmdlet’s – but it’s not the only way.
The PowerShell community is strong and vibrant with MVP’s, Guru’s, aficionados, newbies and enthusiasts – all blogging, tweeting, and using forums to discuss and discover problem solving with PowerShell. Getting involved in the community online is a great way to extend and expand your PowerShell skills – but again, its not the only way.
Another way is by talking with your peers – you know – the people you work with. See what they’re doing with PowerShell, ask them questions – maybe share something you picked up recently. One great way to learn new things is to work side-by-side with a few of your friends. As your performing tasks you might notice a coworker doing something in a different, and sometimes better way.
Recently I was getting my computer ready for a presentation – a special presentation – one that I really didn’t want to screw up. In the process of getting my VM’s loaded I needed to check some IP addresses. Easy enough with the traditional IPConfig.exe -which of course runs in PowerShell. I happen to mention this to my co-host for the presentation, saying something to the effect of, “let me get the outside IP address for you – then you can remote to my computer – just let me run IPconfig…”
His response? “Have you used gip?” I was a little stunned – gip? Never heard of gip? After noticing my confused look he used on of his famous lines on me. “Think – Type – Get my friend – try it.” So I did. Turns out gip is an alias for Get-NetIPConfiguration which produces a better looking and easier to read result than the old IPConfig.exe. In fact, because it’s a PowerShell cmdlet producing objects, you can use this in amazing ways. I just learned something new, something that will become very useful, because I was working with someone else using PowerShell. The moral of the story? Work with other admins that are using PowerShell – even side-by-side if possible – you will pickup new things from each other.
Oh, who was my friend/co-host that introduced me to a new and useful cmdlet? The inventor of PowerShell, Distinguished Engineer Jeffrey Snover. So using one of his catch phrases – go forth and Think – Type – Get. (and have fun too – remember this is PowerShell and not some boring GUI)