Microsoft provides an advanced version of Command line interface, called PowerShell. This is like the modern version of traditional command line utility provided by Microsoft.
With the PowerShell you are able to work with the basic commands like cd, dir, md,del and so on but, with extensive features included which provides you a super powerful tool which is called cmdlets.
The purpose of PowerShell
So, what is PowerShell though? PowerShell is tool provided by Microsoft for automation of various tasks running on different platforms. PowerShell is made up of a command-line shell, a scripting language and a framework for configuration management. Since this is for the cross-platform usage and not necessarily confined within the boundary of Windows, you can also use it on macOS and Linux.
So what is a command-line shell? Command line shell is generally the interpreter for PowerShell or a classic command line. Meaning, whenever you will type something inside the command line or PowerShell, the ‘shell’ part converts the input into a pile code that your system understands. PowerShell incorporates the modern command shell, which includes the popular and best handpicked features of the popular shells. One of the most powerful variations we see inside the PowerShell is that, PowerShell returns a whole .NET objects unlike the traditional way of just returning text. This can give you an edge when writing some serious task automation and so on.
The features of PowerShell
PowerShell provides the following features.
It will give you advanced command-line history and an ability to predict command and tab completion. It will also provide you with total support for command and parameter aliases. With it, you can use pipelining for chaining commands. Finally, it has a built-in console help system, which is similar to UNIX’s man pages.
So, what about the scripting part of the PowerShell? You can use PowerShell as a scripting language. This wil be commonly used for things like – Task Automation for various management systems and so on. PowerShell is also heavily used for testing, deploying solutions most often in an CI/CD environments. PowerShell is built and run on Microsoft’s .NET’s common language runtime or CLR. Since this is built on .NET you are allowed to input and output as .NET objects. You do not have to worry about parsing text output to extract the necessary information.
The PowerShell features of a scripting language
This mighty PowerShell as scripting language provides you with the features mentioned below.
You can extend through functions, classes, scripts and modules and get access to the extensible formatting system for hassle free output. With PowerShell, you can create dynamic types. In addition to it, you have built-in support for the most widely data formats like CSV, JSON and XML.
As for automation platform, you have an extensible nature that PowerShell provide, which enables its own ecosystem via PowerShell Modules to deploy and manage nearly any technology out there. For instance, Micorsoft Azure, Windows, Exchange, SQL, AWS, VMWare and Google Cloud.
The PowerShell framework
Now, about the configuration management, PowerShell Desired State Configuration or DSC is used, which is a management framework in PowerShell that allows managing the enterprise level infrastructure as code. With the power of DSC, you can perform the following.
You can build declarative configurations and custom scripts for any kind of repeatable deployments and enforce configurations settings as well as make reports on configuration drift, which is generally caused by inconsistent configuration item. Furthermore, with it, you can easily deploy your configurations using push or pull models.