Shell of an Idea
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Shell of an Idea

The untold history of PowerShell

About the Book

Check out my Twitter feed for a coupon code that’s good on PowerShell’s 15th birthday, 14-November-2021. That link will set the minimum price to zero, letting you pay whatever you feel the book is worth. For all of October-November 2021, 100% of proceeds will be donated to charities that help young people from disadvantaged situations enter the tech industry in a paid job.

"In many ways, this is The Phoenix Project for the PowerShell world."

Introduced in 2006, Microsoft's PowerShell made an immediate, positive impact on its server products and in the lives of the people who administer them. The world's first object-oriented shell, the first designed-from-scratch shell for the Windows operating system, and now a cross-platform management shell, PowerShell's technical achievement is significant. It's easy to look at where PowerShell is today, and not realize or remember the long and sometimes-difficult road it took to get there.

What if Microsoft's "next-gen" shell had been nothing more than a port of the Unix KornShell to Windows? What if PowerShell had never become a default, built-in component of the Windows operating system? What if PowerShell had simply been called, "Microsoft Shell?" Yeah, all of those things almost happened.

In the end, the story of PowerShell is less about the technology, and more about the people who brought it to life, and the people who use it every day. It's about how one small band of passionate, crazy people with a vision can bring something wonderful into the world, in small, incremental, deliberate steps. It's about how the right people came together at the right time and did the right thing, and about the enormous community that rallied around them to make the whole thing an incredible success.

Author Don Jones was with PowerShell from the beginning, and through a series of core team interviews, community discussions, and background research, he brings you this: the untold story of PowerShell, a Shell of an Idea.

About the Author

Don Jones
Don Jones

Don Jones has been in the IT industry since the mid 1990s, and has been a recipient of Microsoft's "Most Valuable Professional" Award since 2003. He's a co-founder of and The DevOps Collective, and a Curriculum Director for online video training company Pluralsight. Don authored some of the first books ever published for Windows PowerShell, and is the co-author of Learn Windows PowerShell in a Month of Lunches, the bestselling entry-level book for PowerShell. Don's a sought-after speaker at technology conferences like Microsoft Ignite, TechMentor, and many more. In 2014, Don started writing fiction in the sci-fi and fantasy genres, and had produced several notable novels, including The Never: A Tale of Peter and the Fae, The Achillios Chronicles trilogy (Alabaster, Onyx, and Verdant), and Daniel Scratch: A Story of Witchkind. You can find him on Twitter @concentratedDon, or on his website, 

Table of Contents

    • Foreword
    • Introduction
    • Cast of Characters
    • A Shell of a Problem
    • Illustrating the Problem
    • Let’s Just Copy Unix
    • Kermit
    • A Manifesto
    • Culture
    • The .NET Framework Connection
    • Windows
    • Exchange
    • Windows, Again
    • v2
    • Design Decisions and Coding Stories
      • Decision-Making Principles
      • Usability Testing
      • Being Verbose
      • Providers
      • Ctrl+C
      • Extensible Type System
      • How Parameters Became Cmdlets
      • Parameters: - vs. /
      • WHERE: The Elevation of the ScriptBlock
      • -WhatIf, -Confirm, and -Verbose
      • Punctuation Decisions
      • Snap-ins vs. Modules
      • Namespaces
      • Verbs
      • COM
      • What’s in a Name?
      • Remoting and Buffering
      • Updatable Help
      • The Directed Graph
      • White on Blue
    • Creating a Language
    • The Security Story
    • Greatest Misses
      • MiniShells and AdminShells
      • Transactions
      • Workflow
      • Data Streams
      • Tainted Data
    • The MVPs
      • Meet the MVPs
      • Adopting PowerShell
      • The Role of the MVP Community
      • Where are We Now?
      • What Does the Community Look Like?
      • Changing MVPs’ Careers
      • Shout-Outs
      • The MVP-Microsoft Relationship
    • My PowerShell Story
    • Impact
    • Acknowledgements
    • “PowerShell Makes Us All Better at Our Games”
    • “We Can Leapfrog Linux!”
    • Hula Monkey
    • Personalities
  • Notes

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