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boosting the powershell ise with ise steroids

Ever since the PowerShell ISE was released, I slowly moved away from using some of the other things I was pretty fond of like PowerShellPlus and PrimalScript. It’s mostly because it’s super convenient.

Along came ISE Steroids. I can’t really speak to 1.0 since I just started on 2.0 and just started very recently, actually. So far, I’m pretty impressed. The best part of using it, is it doesn’t force the convenience factor to change at all. Installing it is as simple as unzipping the files to your module path ($env:PSModulePath -split ';'). After that, you launch it with Start-Steroids. That gives me the convenience of using the plain ol’ ISE or switching into a hyper-capable ISE.

I’ve only begun scratching the surface of its capabilities though here are some things I’ve been using so far:

VERTICAL ADD-ON TOOLS PANE

Help. I love this feature. Anything I click on in a script, the help add-on will attempt to look up and present relevant information.

image

Variables. This is another feature I love. Having a variables window makes debugging so much easier.

image

REFACTORING

Is there someone on your team that codes in a manner that only their mother could love? If so, you might benefit from using the Refactor process. It’s basically a series of scripts that will comb the hair and wash behind the ears of your PowerShell script. It’s not perfect, but it performs admirably. It’s also configurable if you need to tune things down from default. Here’s an example:

Bad

foreach ($item in $smsobjects){
#write-host $item.name
$machinesfromSMS = $machinesfromSMS + $item.name}

foreach ($item in $sms2012objects){
#write-host $item.name
$machinesfromSMS = $machinesfromSMS + $item.name}

Better

foreach ($item in $smsobjects)
{
    #write-host $item.name
    $machinesfromsms = $machinesfromsms + $item.name
}

foreach ($item in $sms2012objects)
{
    #write-host $item.name
    $machinesfromsms = $machinesfromsms + $item.name
}

Which would you rather read and interpret?

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

I would love to see the context sensitive help add-on retrieve things from the console or at least a search box to look up information manually. At this time, I have an empty script where I type in the command to make it show me help information.

SUMMARY

ISE Steroids isn’t a new shell, a giant development environment, or anything that fancy. It’s a lot of little things that tunes out the default PowerShell ISE into a highly functional shell and scripting environment. It’s extensible with other add-ons and supports launching applications from the ISE. (ILSpy and WinMerge come loaded.)

It’s my new favorite. I’m hooked. If you like the PowerShell ISE environment, you should check it out. There are many more features I haven’t brought up (signing, version control, wizards, etc.)

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