Tag Archives: PowerShell

Friday Fun: A Better PSEdit

In the PowerShell ISE, there is a built-in function called PSEdit. You can use this function to easily load a file in to the ISE directly from the ISE command prompt.

You can also load multiple files, but not as easily as you might like. I find myself wanting to do this:

As you can see isn’t what I’m expecting. I can get PSEdit to open multiple files, but I need to use a command like this:

I finally tired of this so I looked at the code for the PSEdit function.

I am assuming based on what I see that this was written a long time ago. So I decided to update it. Here’s my version:

The major difference is that my version works in the pipeline making it easier, for me at least, to open multiple files at once.

I also added some verbose messages for troubleshooting. This is my common practice when creating new PowerShell tools. You’ll also notice that I replaced the aliases in the original function with complete cmdlet and parameter names.

The last “feature” is my customized ValidateScript attribute. I wanted to verify that any path pointed to a legitimate file. I could have simply used this:

But if the path failed the test, PowerShell displays a long error message that isn’t always helpful. So I added some logic. Validation tests have to return either True or False. When it is false, PowerShell throws the exception. So I wrote my own exception message.

I get a similar error with the original psedit.

So perhaps I haven’t improved on it that much. But I could have written an even longer message and I wanted to demonstrate this technique in case you wanted to use it.

One last word on my version of PSEdit. I didn’t use a standard name, I guess because the original function doesn’t use one. And I’m ok with that. This is one of the situations where the function is a “cheater” command with a simple, alias-like, name. If you want to replace the original PSEdit function, add mine to your ISE profile script and rename it to PSEdit.


Converting Timespans to Repetition Patterns

Over on Petri.com, I’ve recently published a followup article about creating daily or weekly scheduled PowerShell jobs that support a repetition interval. The short answer is to use the Scheduled Tasks cmdlets. In the Petri article I talk about needing to use a special string format for the timespan. It is documented on MSDN.

It isn’t especially difficult to work it out, but I thought it would be handy to have a PowerShell function to convert a timespan to this format.

Technically, the pattern will support any timespan but since the pattern used with scheduled tasks must be between 1 minute and 31 days, I added that as a validation parameter. The function simply builds the final string based on the number of date time elements, i.e. hours, minutes and seconds.

Hopefully this function makes it easier to automate the scheduled job and task process.

Friday Fun: A PowerShell Macro

Today’s Friday Fun is a little different in that it showcases two things I use almost every day: Microsoft Word and PowerShell. I am writing new articles and material almost daily and of course very often the content is PowerShell related. Usually I use the blog post template in Word to make it easier to upload. This works great because I can insert links in the Word document and they will be maintained when copied to WordPress. One of the steps I’ve started taking in my writing is to include a link to online help for a cmdlet.

For example, if I am writing about Get-WinEvent I’ll include a link on the cmdlet name. Of course I’m not going to manually get the link, copy it and create the hyperlink in Word. So I created a Word macro that calls a PowerShell script to get the online link and insert it as a hyperlink. Here’s how this all works.

There are a few ways to get the online help link for a given cmdlet. You could retrieve the HelpUri with Get-Command.

Or you can retrieve it using Get-Help.

As you can see the links are different, even though the online content is very similar. But since the latter is what you would get if you ran Get-Help Get-Service –online, I decided to go with that. I put together a simple script.

The function writes the link to the pipeline if found, otherwise it writes $Null. I’ll explain why in a moment.

With this script, I now turn to Word and created this macro.

I couldn’t find a way to capture the output of the PowerShell command so I ended up creating a temporary file that contains the link. If nothing was found then the file will have a 0 length. I found this easier because the macro reads the file and saves the contents to a variable, link. If the length of link is > 0 then Word inserts the hyperlink, complete with a constructed screen tip.

I stored the macro in Normal.dot so I always have it available.

I even gave it a keyboard shortcut under File – Options –Customize Ribbon

Finding ways to automate the dreary tasks from my day is very rewarding, plus I almost always learn something new. Hopefully you did to.