Windows PowerShell Cookbook: The Definitive Guide

Author: Lee Holmes
Publisher: OReilly, 2007
ISBN: 978-0596528492
Aimed at: Newcomers to PowerShell
Rating: 3
Pros: Worthwhile introductory section
Cons: Emphasis on admin tasks
Reviewed by: Ian Elliot

In case you have missed it, the Windows PowerShell is Microsoft’s attempt to play catch up with the powerful command shells offered by operating systems such as Linux and Unix. I’ve never been keen on command line shells – I do enough typing already and find a GUI for most jobs to be more accurate. Even so, as a long time VBScript user I’m on the look out for a replacement so I approached the PowerShell with enthusiasm that was quickly dampened. My overall opinion was “why bother” as it didn’t appear to do much more than raw VBScript in conjunction with a range of ActiveX objects. Thanks to the first 16 pages of this PowerShell Cookbook I am now a convert and with the help of some of the examples I can see that PowerShell is a better way to do some things. While I am grateful for the opportunity to “see the light”, I have to admit that the bulk of the book hasn’t been as successful. The problem with all cookbooks is that if they have the recipe you are looking for then they are great and if not they are useless. The problem with this cookbook is that many of the recipes are a bit obvious – the equivalent of how to boil an egg. You can’t help but get the impression that the author really wanted to write a primer on PowerShell rather than a cookbook and it’s a shame he didn’t because judging by the introduction it would have been good. Instead the emphasis is on using the PowerShell to do admin tasks – Windows, WMI, Exchange 2007, MOM etc - and this isn’t unreasonable as all programmers have to do admin tasks on occasion. The recipes are, however, a bit light on explanation. Holmes’ discussion tends to be discursive, exploring the best way of doing the job or potential problems. Despite the really good initial introduction I can’t recommend this book unless you really do need a set of admin examples of how PowerShell can be used.

<Reviewed in VSJ> 

Last Updated ( Saturday, 10 January 2009 )