PowerShell has provided us with 2 methods of interaction; a basic console, and the ISE (Integrated Scripting Environment). Personally, I rarely use PowerShell in the console only form, preferring to use the ISE at all times.
With that in mind, I’m going to show them both, but I will focus on the ISE in terms of how I set it up for my coding (you may prefer a different look, but this will let you see how I do it and therefore adapt it to your own preferences).
So, first things first, here’s what I see when I open the Start menu and look in the Windows PowerShell folder:
You’ll see there are 4 options… to be honest there are only 2 real options, each having an x86 and 64bit version.
As my PC isn’t from the 90s I’ll ignore the x86 versions and will just be using the 64bit installs.
Firstly, let’s open PowerShell (the console, NOT the ISE) and have a look:
Looks very like a good old DOS window. (And yes, there’s a note about the latest version… no, I haven’t installed it yet – it’s on a VERY long list of things I need to do)
It acts very much like DOS too:
But as this is PowerShell it understands a LOT more besides DOS commands, although I’ll not be revealing too much here as that’s for a later blog. (As with DOS, just type EXIT to close this if you want)
In essence though, this console is very like DOS and that’s how I tend to think of it… line by line coding with no real interaction and with a console feel. This is the PowerShell I was introduced to at first and therefore immediately dismissed.
HOWEVER, then there’s the ISE:
You’ll note that your Blue window may well not have the same size font as mine, because I like mine big (I’m not blind, just like it for some reason). You’ll see that in the very bottom right I’ve got it set to 125% magnification.
Anyway, this, as it stands is a frustrating window. I like the Command window on the right… it makes it nice and easy to search for things within PowerShell:
But the console on the left is still a 1 line at a time console window… again, something when I first encountered PowerShell I closed the window thinking “this isn’t scripting”.
BUT If you go to VIEW and choose “Show Script Pane Top”:
Then you get something more akin to a scripting language GUI:
Now we can write and test our scripts in the top panel and see the output and progress in the console below.
Also note that, to do this, for us SQL types we can press F5 to execute the PowerShell code we’ve written but, if you like to click, then these are what you’re looking for:
It’s now that we can move on and start to look into writing some actual PowerShell code…