Tickets on Sale for #pssat002

§ August 2, 2012 12:00 by beefarino |

logo_iidI am pleased to announce that tickets for PowerShell Saturday #002 in Charlotte, NC on September 15, 2012 are now on sale! 

For a paltry $10 you get a full day of learning and fun.  We have fifteen sessions across three tracks - Introductory PowerShell, Advanced PowerShell, and Applied PowerShell - there will be no shortage of useful, practical PowerShell available to you on this day.

Speakers include scripting heavyweights like Scripting Guy Ed Wilson, as well as many field-tested shell hackers looking to bring you some awesome.  Presentations cover everything from getting started to managing enterprise systems, virtualization farms, Windows Server 2012, Active Directory, and Sharepoint from the shell. 

In addition – and I’m a little excited about this one - you'll have a chance to compete for the first-ever Iron Scripter award and claim the title Iron Scripter - PowerShell Saturday #002, and walk away with a very special and unique prize...

For more information about the event, please see the event site at

To get tickets for the event, please register at

Here's hoping to see you there!


A Great Start to April

§ April 8, 2014 16:30 by beefarino |

WP_000468I’m pleased to report that I’ve been renewed as a PowerShell MVP for another year!

I spent the bulk of 2013 focused on making open-source software – much of it orbiting PowerShell and integration with various technologies like transactional file systems and scriptcs.  I was nervous about losing the award by focusing less on teaching and speaking, but thankfully the team saw value in what I’ve been up to.

Looking ahead, I don’t plan on changing my focus much.  I have plenty of projects in the pipeline (pun intended) that I want to get to a release point in the coming months, and yes most of them still orbit PowerShell.  No reveals here, but perhaps a few hints – do you work with large SSIS package deployments?  Do you like the idea of SeeShell but not so much the cost?  Oh, or maybe you find yourself wishing PowerShell could just learn things by looking at data?

Sound interesting?  Then perhaps you should keep a close eye on my little blog this year.

StudioShell.DependencyExample Nuget Package

§ February 13, 2014 17:49 by beefarino |

As promised, I’ve pushed a simple example of using StudioShell.Provider as a Nuget package dependency.  You can pull the StudioShell.DependencyExample for the code.  At the moment this package does one thing – it adds a Solution Module to your current solution if one is not already present.

Let’s take a closer look at what this package actually does and how it does it…

The Nuspec File

Inside of the StudioShell.DependencyExample nuspec file, I’ve listed StudioShell.Provider as a dependency package:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<package xmlns="">
    <description>A simple demonstration of using StudioShell.Provider automation features from your Nuget packages</description>
    <tags>VisualStudio StudioShell DTE automation nuget</tags>
      <dependency id="StudioShell.Provider" version="1.6.2" />

This ensures that the StudioShell PSDTE provider is loaded into the package manager console session before installing my example package.  This will allows me to leverage the DTE drive from my package scripts.

The Init.ps1 File

The init.ps1 files makes use of the DTE drive to spelunker the solution, project items, and folders.

The first few lines of the init.ps1 file get the currently open Visual Studio solution.  The $slnName variable is set to the “name” of the solution, which is determined as the filename without the .sln extension.  The $modulePath variable is set to the location of the solution module for this solution. 

#   Copyright (c) 2014 Code Owls LLC, All Rights Reserved.
#   Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software
#   distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS,
#   WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied.
#   See the License for the specific language governing permissions and
#   limitations under the License.
param($installPath, $toolsPath, $package, $project)

# add a new StudioShell solution module to the solution if one does not already exist

$sln = get-item dte:/solution;
$slnName = ( $sln.FullName | split-path -leaf ) -replace '\..+$','';
$modulePath = $sln.FullName -replace '\.sln$','.psm1';

Next we check if a solution module does not already exist at this path; if we find one, we simply return out of the script:

if( test-path $modulePath )    

And if no solution file exists, we go ahead and create one using a little powershell here-string magic:

# Example StudioShell solution module for ${slnName}

`$menuItems = @(
    # list any menu items your module adds here
    # e.g.:
    new-item 'dte:/commandbars/menu bar/help' `
	 -name 'about my module' `
	-value { 'Module ${slnName}' | `
    out-outputpane; invoke-item dte:/windows/output; }

# this function is called automatically when your solution is unloaded
function unregister-${slnName}
    # remove any added menu items;
    `$menuItems | remove-item;
"@ | out-file -filepath $modulePath;

Once the solution module file is created, we add it to the current solution items.  First we create a Solution Items folder if one does not yet exist:

#create a solution items project folder if necessary
if( -not ( test-path 'dte:/solution/projects/solution items' ) )
    new-item -path 'dte:/solution/projects/solution items' -type folder;

After we ensure we have a Solution Items folder, we simply add the existing file to it:

#add the solution module to the solution items project folder
new-item -path 'dte:/solution/projects/solution items' -filepath $modulePath;

Looking Ahead

I’ll keep updating the StudioShell.DependencyExample package as I find new and interesting things to do with StudioShell and Nuget.  If you come up with your own, please let me know about them!

StudioShell 1.6.2 is all About Better Nuget Support

§ February 13, 2014 16:40 by beefarino |

ssnugetI just pushed a point release of StudioShell.  It contains a few fixes related to autocomplete, but the majority of the code changes are related to being able to easily leverage the DTE drive from Nuget packages and the Package Manager console in Visual Studio.

Up until this point, you had to install the entire StudioShell environment to be able to use its features from the Package Manager console.  This was problematic because the full install for StudioShell is not straightforward or simple, and most of the install-related issues reported for the project stemmed from people trying to leverage it from the Package Manager console.

This latest release remedies this by breaking the StudioShell project into two unique distributions:

  1. StudioShell: the complete StudioShell environment;
  2. StudioShell.Provider: the StudioShell DTE PowerShell provider.

Here’s a breakdown of how the features between the two distributions differ:

Feature StudioShell StudioShell.Provider
DTE Drive



Solution Modules



Custom Scripted Menu Items



Data Panes & Visualizations


Custom Host Settings


Custom Profile Scripts


Custom Console



In a nutshell, StudioShell.Provider isolates the main gem of StudioShell automation – the PSDTE PowerShell provider.  The host-level features, such as visualizations and the custom StudioShell profile script, are only available in the full StudioShell install.

The reason I’m doing this is simple: I want people to be able to use StudioShell in their Nuget packages to manipulate Visual Studio.  I’m working on a simple demonstration package that will show off a bit of what you’ll be able to do from your Nuget packages if you add a dependcy on StudioShell.Provider and will publish it as soon as it’s ready.

StudioShell 1.6 Supports VS 2013

§ January 28, 2014 23:18 by beefarino |

ohaiGreat news for StudioShell lovers…

This evening I pushed a new build of StudioShell that includes support for Visual Studio 2013.  The new build is available through the usual channels:

  • Download the installer from CodePlex
  • Install using NuGet or Chocolately
  • Clone the code and invoke the install psake task:
hg clone
cd studioshell
import-module psake
invoke-psake install

As always, report any issues or requests using the Issue Tracker.

Happy coding!