PowerShell – First Encounter

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A light introduction to PowerShell, the first ever .NET based scripting language

Just like most of beginners, my first encounter with UNIX was a daunting experience. Before that, my perception of an operating system was based on windows. Frankly speaking, at that point of time, I hated the command based approach of UNIX. And throughout my training in my company, UNIX classes always remained in a mess. But later I came to know the advantages of command-based approach & Scripting skills. 
Well, most of the people think COMMAND.COM and cmd.exe as twins of UNIX command shells. They include only a handful of basic commands, and most people easily conclude that shells & scripting in windows is awkward as compare to UNIX. 

But that’s not true Guys! In the past, MS attempted to come up with powerful shells & scripting engines, such as ‘Windows Script Host’ (WSH, type cscript.exe at cmd), netsh & WMIC. In 2006, MS came up with ‘Windows PowerShell’ (PS). PS introduced a brand-new, powerful, more flexible, more consistent object-based command line tool & scripting language. It is currently available for XP SP2/SP3, Windows 2003, and Vista; and included in WS08 as an optional feature. The present version, PS 2.0 was released in July 2010 and also integrated with Windows 7 and 2K8 R2. As Microsoft has stopped further development of COM-based VBScript now, PS is the future of windows based scripting. In the next sections of this article, we will launch PS and try out some basic commands (in PS they call commands as cmdlets).

So if you are having Windows 7 (or 2008 or R2), you can launch PS by typing ‘powershell’ in Run (Win+R) or through All Programs -> Accessories -> Windows PowerShell. For XP/Vista, you can download it from Microsoft sites. Once the PS console launched, you will get a screen similar to below one:

You can use almost all (read not all) your old cmd commands on PS Console, although the output may be different. Try out few basic commands like Date, dir on PS Console and compare the output with cmd outputs. Now, an obvious question from any beginner, why a new shell and new scripting language? Is VBScript and cmd were not enough? The answer is no! May be the first look is not enough to justify the answer. The most striking feature of PS is that it is based on .NET framework. Surprised? Yes, you can use all the power and potential of .NET in PS scripts. You can even make windows form!! But the primary target users of PS are system admins, Server App Users. In the next articles, we will discuss more about PowerShell and will make the traditional ‘Hello World’ script.
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About the Author

Full Name: Ankit Kashyap
Member Level: Starter
Member Status: Member
Member Since: 9/8/2010 9:31:06 AM
Country: India


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