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Windows PowerShell in Action by Bruce…
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Windows PowerShell in Action

by Bruce Payette

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Manning was kind enough to send me the eBook version of PowersShell In Action to review. At right around 1000 pages, you certainly couldn't ask for a more detailed book on PowerShell; nor could you ask for a more respected author - Bruce Payette was one of the original designers of the language. His insider knowledge really shows through the book, too. If you're a coder like me, you're probably often found yourself using some new technology and shaking your head in amazement, wondering what the designers possible could have been thinking when they wrote this or that feature.

In the case of PowerShell, you can wonder no more. Almost every controversial design decision that went into the script language is detailed by Mr. Payette; the pros and cons weighed, and the final arguments that tipped the balance in one direction or another are covered. It's extremely handy when you wonder "Why in the world can't I do X?" and then you find that X couldn't possibly work with Y, and you can easily do Y, and Y makes your job easier anyway.

The book is divided into two parts: First, a section on the language itself; loops and operators, data structures, and the basics of editing scripts, and second, what you might call "Real World PowerShell", where the intricacies of interacting with the Windows computer management system, the .Net framework, XML, and a few other things are covered. Both sections are covered in spectacular detail; it's my recommendation that you not use this book like a cookbook and dig through it trying to find how to accomplish a specific task - although there is an appendix with many common tasks - but instead, read at least the first section from beginning to end to grok the PowerShell mentality, and then read the parts of the second section that have specific application to your work. From the first section you'll pick up subtle details of the language, like the ability to put pipelines in if statements, and your code will be the better for it. Much of the second section won't be relevant to all developers - there's a chapter devoted to COM, for heaven's sake - but learning the details of the parts that are will be time well spent.

Payette has accomplished with this book an encyclopedia of knowledge combined with a sensibly organized and readable structure that allows you to go from one end to the other very easily. You certainly won't need any other PowerShell book on your shelf. ( )
  benfulton | Jul 23, 2011 |
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