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HomePowershellFinest Practices Make Good • The Lonely Administrator

Finest Practices Make Good • The Lonely Administrator

This submit is a reprint from an article revealed to my premium PowerShell publication Behind the PowerShell Pipeline out there on Substack. Subscribers obtain 6-8 articles like this a month delivered to their inbox or out there on the Substack app. I hope you’ll think about subscribing. Trial subscriptions can be found.

Over the course of the final a number of weeks, I’ve been sharing and demonstrating strategies for writing efficient PowerShell capabilities. I do know I’ve talked about a number of advisable greatest practices. However since they’re vital, I wish to assessment and re-emphasize them. These practices will make your code simpler to jot down, simpler to debug or troubleshoot, and safer. I’d wish to suppose a few of them are easy, frequent sense, however typically we want somebody to remind us. This stuff will not be in any explicit order.

Observe Naming Conventions

Give your capabilities a significant identify utilizing the Verb-Noun naming conference. You can provide a .ps1 script file any identify you need that works for you, however capabilities ought to comply with the Verb-Noun naming conference. If I can’t discover the verb portion of your perform by operating Get-Verb, you’ve executed one thing flawed. I perceive it may well typically be tough to seek out the appropriate verb. However discover one thing as shut as attainable. You may all the time create an alias on your perform utilizing any verb you would like.

The noun must be singular, though I’ve been recognized to bend that rule now and again. Make the noun significant and particular. If there’s the potential for a naming collision, think about including a prefix to the noun. The prefix might be your initials or possibly a corporation abbreviation. The prefix ought to get rid of naming collisions and make figuring out your instructions simpler.

You probably have a naming collision, you may run a command utilizing its absolutely certified identify:


Specify the command’s module identify with the command identify.

The opposite essential naming conference is to keep away from aliases in your scripts. Be at liberty to make use of aliases as a lot as you need when operating PowerShell interactively at a console immediate. However in scripts, use full cmdlet names and parameter names. I’d recommend even utilizing parameter names for positional parameters. If you happen to use an editor like VS Code that has Intellisense, it isn’t that a lot of a burden. You solely have to jot down your code as soon as, so write it the appropriate approach the primary time.

That mentioned, be at liberty to jot down your perform in VSCode utilizing all of the aliases you need. When you’re completed, use VSCode to develop your aliases. You need to use the command from the command palette or the keyboard shortcut.

Notice that this can not add lacking parameter names.

Due to the way in which PowerShell instructions are designed, it’s virtually self-documenting in the event you use full command and parameter names.

No Passwords

I’d wish to suppose it is a given, however in the event you want a reminder, don’t arduous code any passwords or credentials into your scripts and capabilities.

$pw = "Open$esame!"
foo.exe /u administrator /p $pw

And in addition, keep away from this:


In case your command wants a password, have the consumer enter a PSCredential.


This doesn’t imply the credential object must be created forward of time. The consumer can specify the username, and PowerShell will immediate for the password.

Another choice is to combine Microsoft’s SecretStore and SecretManagement modules.

Be Agnostic

Your PowerShell code must be agnostic. By that, I imply it mustn’t have hard-coded values for issues like a website identify. That is unhealthy kind.

$area = "ContosoCorp.pri"

On the very least, use PowerShell to populate the worth.

$area = (Get-ADDomain).DNSRoot

You could possibly additionally make this a parameter and let the consumer specify a price. Or, and that is a complicated method, write your perform to make use of configuration knowledge from a .psd1 file.

If you happen to can’t present me your code with out having to sanitize it first, I’d say you’re doing one thing flawed. It could really feel like you’re saving time, however I’d argue it’s truly making your code much less safe.

We all the time discuss concerning the want for inside documentation. Studying PowerShell code must be like studying a narrative. You must be capable to comply with the motion. If you happen to use full cmdlet and parameter names, that handles nearly all of the work. If you happen to embrace significant Write-Verbose messages, that too will fill within the gaps. You solely want so as to add remark sections when operating a block of .NET code that is perhaps obscure or for sections of your script that want a proof about why you’re utilizing the code you’re. As your code matures and also you replace it, inserting a remark with a essential change will be useful.

Code feedback are as a lot for you as the subsequent individual. It’s possible you’ll be the one taking a look at code six months later, struggling to determine what you have been making an attempt to attain.

Make It Fairly

I keep in mind again in my VBScript days. A discussion board member was having issues along with his code. I supplied to assist, and he posted his code. It was a whole lot of strains of single-spaced, left-justified code. It was not possible to learn, and VBScript was arduous sufficient. Indentation and white house issues. I simply talked about that your code ought to inform a narrative. How your code is displayed in a file may help inform that story. There isn’t any efficiency penalty for clean strains or white house. In case your code is less complicated to learn, it’s simpler to debug and troubleshoot.

The simplest approach to do that is to jot down your perform in VS Code. Proper-click on the editor pane, choose “Format Doc” or use the keyboard shortcut.

format document in VS Code

The primary time I noticed this in motion, it felt like magic and was the factor that pushed me into the arms of VS Code. You can even configure VSCode to format the file each time you reserve it.

format on save in VS Code


I hope that a lot of you’re already following these suggestions. If not, I’d wish to know why. You may go away a touch upon this text. Maybe I can make clear or present further context. Discovering the code to make use of in your PowerShell scripting mission is simply a part of the job. How you utilize the code is equally vital.

Learn PowerShell Scripting in a Month of Lunches, 2nd Ed. MEAP



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