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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent code bible for ideas and inspiration., 28 May 2013
By 
Mr. C. Street (Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Firstly let me say that I didn't buy this book, it was bought for me by my company. I funded the purchase of the other book that makes up my Powershell collection (Windows Powershell in Action, Bruce Payette). Windows PowerShell in Action

This book is a bad way to learn to program from the ground up, and indeed doesn't intend to teach you that. Although you could learn from it in that fashion you would be better served by other books. What this book does do is present examples of problems to those with some programming skill - not much skill needed to be sure, and it solves those problems and shows you how those problems are solved. This provides a good learning experience of real life programming, and unless you are already very adept your coding abilities will improve and possibly improve significantly - mine certainly did.

It's second function, is to provide a cookbook as the name says of useful coding tricks with ready code samples to slice and dice as you see fit into your program. A thousand pages covers the very simple basics, (eg notification of job completion) through the more common usages of string handling, file use (simple and structured including XML, parsing and processing a directory tree), internet work such as scripted downloads all within the first few sections. These are then revisited with more advanced examples showing how these can be worked into system administration and automation with useful real world examples (parsing AD trees to amend and update users, eventlogging, server scripting and remoting, debug and security work.

There is no dedicated sections on using Powershell with Exchange or SQL which I was a little surprised by but there probably is no real need. Like all O'Reilly books it's beautifully laid out and easy to read, with clear concise writing from the author, who clearly knows his onions and has geniune real world experience.

Don't buy this expecting to learn Powershell - it's not for that - although you will learn a lot. As a companion book for a learner, or for a standalone "idea's" book for an experienced or intermediate coder this is hard to beat and it should be on everyones bookshelves for those reasons.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Book Review: Windows PowerShell Cookbook by Lee Holmes, 21 Feb 2014
Initially released seven years ago, Windows PowerShell is a supercharged command-line utility designed to provide greater control and flexibility to IT administrators and developers. According to Microsoft, "using a new admin-focused scripting language, more than 130 standard command line tools, and consistent syntax and utilities, Windows PowerShell allows IT professionals to more easily control system administration and accelerate automation."

Even though the Windows PowerShell Cookbook isn't a tutorial per se, the format in which information is conveyed and described seems to be more effective in helping new and experienced PowerShell users alike experiment with scripts and topics relevant to their needs. Holmes explains this as "helping you learn PowerShell through task-based solutions to your most pressing problems. Read a recipe, read a chapter, or read the entire book—regardless, you’re bound to learn something."

This task-based solution approach is an excellent way to display real-world examples of implementations and explain certain areas with logical and understandable scenarios. Whether you're an enterprise administrator or a Windows power user, the well-structured delivery of 'fundamental, common and advanced' chapters to delineate the level of awareness and understanding required to effectively employ a specific function or script is a helpful way of integrating a tutorial-esque sense of progressive learning with an element of self-paced reflection.

In addition to the three core chapters, Holmes' introductory chapter (titled 'Tour') is an excellent starting (or refreshing) point for PowerShell users before jumping in to practical knowledge. The subheadings of each task (topic) outline a problem, a solution (employing PowerShell) and further discussion, adding another well-reasoned element of familiarity and structure to each solution while extending the cookbook-style approach of self-paced exploration throughout topics.

These topics are neatly presented and spaced with an abundance of subheadings and references to provide the reader with a consistent flow of information and prevent them becoming overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of exceptional content and knowledge the book delivers. Screenshots are occasional, although as most of the chapters purely involve work with PowerShell code, this does not affect the reader's ability to understand and comprehend the information; the code is also commented and this provides an extra 'in-scenario' level of guidance. Helpful connotations are also used (and outlined before the introductory chapter) to highlight tips and warnings; Holmes even adds a font-style reference to explain typographical connotations, extending the sense of consistency even further.

The amount of information and the exceptionally-logical methods that Holmes uses to present and deliver topics in the Windows PowerShell Cookbook make this a recommended read for a range of abilities - whether you're new to PowerShell or are experienced and looking for ideas on how to adapt scripts (or create new ones) for your requirements, anyone interested in Microsoft's most powerful command-line scripting environment will find something of interest in this exceptional book.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource, 2 Aug 2013
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The one-stop-shop and must-have lookup tool for anyone wanting to start learning Powershell 3, or in need of a single place to look up answers to any questions about it.
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