My PS toolbelt

A question I get quite regularly is what tools and utilities do I use for developing PowerShell and PowerCLI scripts. The following list should shed a bit of light. A warning, this is my personal selection of tools and utilities and it is not my intention to convince anyone to switch to any of the tools mentioned.

My editor of choice for PowerShell since a long time has been PowerShell Plus from Idera. The features I particularly like are the debugger, the code-completion, the variable inspector and the Learning Center. This editor comes at a modest price and I know there are free editors available that offer some of the features mentioned, but the slickness of the PS+ editor is, in my opinion, not yet surpassed.

Since we started using more and more XML files I have added XMLPad to my toolbelt. It’s a free tool and it offers Grid and Table views, evaluates XPath expressions, applies transforms, validates the XML file and much more.

When working with ESX and ESXi servers you can’t be without a decent SSH utility. It appears that most of us are using the free PuTTY suite for this. Read the Wikipedia page on PuTTY, it will give a complete overview of the components and features. And don’t forget that a lot of the scripts that appear in the PowerCLI community use the plink.exe utility to execute commands on the ESX/ESXi server.

When accessing the PowerCLI community you better use a browser that doesn’t have any “issues” with the SW that runs the VMTN communities. At the moment FireFox is for me the better browser to access the communities. But your mileage may vary 😉

Some of your PowerShell scripts will look a lot better when you present the user with a nice GUI. Creating forms in PowerShell is possible but it’s a lot of work. Sapien’s PrimalForms Community Edition to the rescue. Note that Sapien also offers a more advanced but commercial version of the tool as PrimalForms 2009. Worth the money if you need to write a lot of GUI interfaces.

Since a lot my PowerShell/PowerCLI scripts change the vSPhere environment, I can’t really live without my VMware Workstation. Snapshots and record/replay are some of the heavily used features that allow me to test my scripts without blowing up a “live” system.

These are currently the most used utensils in my PS toolbelt. I’ll update the post when new tools appear in my PS toolbelt.

Anyone else wants to share his/her PS toolbelt contents ?



    After TA2650 I decided to give PS+ a more thorough eval. At the show I was asked by a PowreGUI person what I thought PowerGUI would have to do to get a user like me (disclaimer; as a Psh tool developer I’m not the target demographic for PowerGUI). I described PS+ without realizing it. Make the console window bigger and bluer and try to replace my PowerShell.exe link instead of selling me on the editor. So far I’m having a good user experience with PS+.


    I would also add PowerGUI and THEVESI
    And of course the main tool in my toolbelt is Luc Dekens!! 🙂

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