Microsoft Windows Powershell Step by Step

Author: Ed Wilson
Publisher: Microsoft Press,2007
Pages: 296
ISBN: 978-0735623958
Aimed at: Those wanting to use PowerShell
Rating: 3
Pros: Plenty of useful examples
Cons: PowerShell may be too late to be worth knowing about
Reviewed by: Mike James

What should we make of the Windows PowerShell? It’s a feature that has been missing from Windows for such a long time that it’s difficult to know if it’s simply too late. The PowerShell is a system scripting language that uses object-oriented techniques to upgrade what started out as DOS batchfiles into the 21st century. You can download and install it for free from the Microsoft website but why bother? Ed Wilson attempts to capture our imagination and fire our enthusiasm from the word go with lots of examples. These cover all the usual topics from the sort of system checking and routine tasks that we used to write batchfiles for to more advanced topics such as WMI, Active directory, ADO and Exchange 2007. Of these the only one that makes a good argument for PowerShell is the Exchange 2007 scripts, but mainly because the Exchange design team have decided to use it.

The book takes a step-by-step approach but this is task- oriented rather than designed to help you learn about the PowerShell language. If you don’t already program then you are going to find it tough going as it introduces programming concepts in a random order. It might inspire you to actually try using PowerShell. The big problem is that PowerShell doesn’t really seem to offer anything that the others – VBScript, JScript, and so on - don’t already have. As if to make the point an appendix covers how to translate VBScript into PowerShell code. Interesting but hardly valuable because it’s already available on the Microsoft website. The CD bound into the back provides all of the samples and many additional utilities. A useful book but is it about useful technology?