Recently I have been reading the early release of Don Jones new book “Learn Windows PowerShell In A Month Of Lunches”, available at Manning.com. Don’s book is excellent. He is an excellent teacher and writer, and you need to purchase this right now. STOP! Go buy it…..
I guess one of the reasons I like Don’s approach so much on PowerShell is he has a “No BullS**t” attitude. (Check out the PowerScripting Podcast Episode 122) If you want to be successful with PowerShell, there is a well-known way of doing it. There is also plenty of crappy ways. He dials you in to a direct and fast way of becoming productive with PowerShell. His exercises are great to get you to start to think and apply the concepts that you are learning.
In fact I like this book so much, I have been recommending for months, even though it hasn’t been officially published! You can get early copies of books from Manning, so go get it!
Let me give you an example. One of the greatest challenges that I see Windows Admins facing is RTFM. Not in the way you might think. I agree that the Windows help system is not the greatest in the world, and that often times you can poke around a GUI based app until you figure it out. With PowerShell, RTFM means using the help system because the likelihood of you “clicking” the answer is just not going to happen. Well, as hard as I try to convince students of the importance of always having another PowerShell session open to run Get-Help, Don comes along early in his book and really drives the part home!
Oh…STOP! Now this might get me in trouble. I don’t have permission by the author or the publishing company (from a book that’s not even published yet), so I’m really hoping no one sues me over this. I’m about to use a quote from Don’s book, so go by the book.
In chapter 3 of Don Jones’s book “Learn Windows PowerShell In A Month Of Lunches” he says:
“If you are not willing to read PowerShell’s help files, you will not be effective with PowerShell. You will not learn how to use it, you will not learn how to administer products like Windows and Exchange with it, and you might as well stick with the GUI.”
If your new to PowerShell, consider this for a moment. I mean really consider this. He’s right ya know. If your not willing to become an expert dancing through the help system in PowerShell, you will want to practice the phrase, “Ya want fries with that”. I think Don put it very well, much better than I.
But that’s the point, he is straight forward, gets you to solving real problems fast, and shows you the ropes as only one of the top MVP’s for PowerShell can. Go buy the damn book!
If you struggling with Get-Help, get the book, or check out some additional Get-Help information, such as Jeff Hicks :
One of my favorite Get-Help Tricks
One of my favorite Get-Help tricks? Well, if you are working with many of the modules that can be imported into PowerShell, sometimes you just want to get a quick list of the cmdlets and description. Get-Help can have cmdlet names piped to it, so I often do this;
get-command -Module act* | get-help | select name, synopsis
You can send it to a file, or out-gridview, whatever you like. Sit back with a beer and scope out all the cmdlets in the module, get a feel for what you want to start digging into.
Knowledge is PowerShell