PowerShell 3 - Microsoft's way of making the .NET framework available as a scripting language - is now out as a Community Technology Preview.
The two most important developments are the ability to use Windows Workflow Foundation from the command line and the introduction of robust sessions that automatically recover. You can also expose a set of cmdlets as RESTful web services via OData. This makes it possible to use PowerShell cmdlets from remote Windows and non-Windows systems.
According to the PowerShell blog, new features include:
Workflows that run long-running activities (in sequence or in parallel) to perform complex, larger management tasks, such as multi-machine application provisioning. Using the Windows Workflow Foundation at the command line, Windows PowerShell workflows are repeatable, parallelizable, interruptible, and recoverable.
- Robust Sessions
Robust sessions that automatically recover from network failures and interruptions and allow you to disconnect from the session, shut down the computer, and reconnect from a different computer without interrupting the task.
- Scheduled Jobs
Scheduled jobs that run regularly or in response to an event.
- Delegated Administration
Commands that can be executed with a delegated set of credentials so users with limited permissions can run critical jobs
- Simplified Language Syntax
Simplified language syntax that make commands and scripts look a lot less like code and a lot more like natural language.
- Cmdlet Discovery
Improved cmdlet discovery and automatic module loading that make it easier to find and run any of the cmdlets installed on your computer.
Show-Command, a cmdlet and ISE Add-On that helps users find the right cmdlet, view its parameters in a dialog box, and run it.
The PowerShell is part of the wider Windows Management Framework. This includes an update to WMI and WinRM. Writing a WMI provider is no longer tied to COM.
This is a fairly major update and the ability to use Windows Workflow and create web services makes PowerShell even more useful.
What of the future of PowerShell?
Microsoft Download Center
PowerShell in Practice (book review)
Windows PowerShell Scripting Guide: Automating Administration of Windows Vista and Windows Server (book review)
Microsoft Windows Powershell Step by Step (book review)
Windows PowerShell Cookbook: The Definitive Guide (book review)