Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Windows PowerShell for Developers by Douglas Finke; O’Reilly Media

It is not often that a technical book makes you rethink how you think. Doug Finke (a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional) has achieved just that with this concise PowerShell reference.

He starts out our journey describing PowerShell as a glue language that is as programmable as Perl, Python and Ruby and takes its cues from Unix Shells. The next few steps describe getting started, and include a brief tour. He then shifts into high gear as we learn about template engines, adding PowerShell to our GUI apps and creating graphical applications within PowerShell.

The chapter on “Writing Little Languages in PowerShell” was a welcome paradigm shift for me. Having virtually no experience with Domain Specific Languages (DSL), it was a fun ride as Doug demonstrated how to create a better XML and a creating a DSL using Graphviz. The lessons in this chapter alone were worth the price of the book.

He completes our tour with coverage of integration with COM (Component Object Model – specifically Microsoft Excel) and some of highlights of PowerShell V3 (Workflows, JSON).

This was an enjoyable invigorating read; in fact, I went through it multiple times. I appreciate the developer-centric perspective that Doug displayed throughout the text.  Whether you are a seasoned developer or a weekend hacker, if you have any interest in PowerShell, I encourage you to pick up “Windows PowerShell for Developers”.

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