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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

PowerShellIDE: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

PowerShellIDE? Yes, an IDE for PowerShell! Oh, boy! That's a whole lot fun. If you like PowerShell, you should try this out.

The good:
It is advertised (it is free at this moment) as "The World's First PowerShell Editor" (what is "PowerShell Analyzer" then?) and wrapped in a dazzling GUI (you should really checkout its Mac style chooser).

You got intellisense functionality, a debugger, variable explorer and properties window.

You can set up a breakpoint in your script and checkout pipline in a GUI environment.

It is the first GUI Monad hosting application I have seen which can handle legacy console application (like ping.exe or netshe.exe)

The bad:
1. Not yet implemented.
You'd better forgot about following API:
Read-host -AsSecureString (ReadLineAsSecureString)
PromptForCredential
SetBufferContents
Getbuffercontents

2. It is not the same!
Don't expect same user experience with
Write-progress
$host.UI.ReadLine() (Oops, Popup window)
$host.UI.RawUI.ReadKey()

The ugly:
PowerShellIDE has to be run under Administrator account. This is killing me. Come on, men! Why it has to read prefetch?
PowerShellIDE.E:3300    OPEN    C:\WINDOWS\Prefetch\POWERSHELLIDE.EXE-3628D30E.pf    ACCESS DENIED
Some other thoughts:
I came across someone's post (I forgot where) talking about PowerShell: "This thing is for Programmer." Now, we have an IDE for PowerShell. It again prove "This thing is for Programmer." Remember the famous joke about Microsoft Visual Studio:" The IDE is so good and you were having so much fun with it. Eventually you forgot what you were doing." This is exactly what happened here:

Despite of intellisense, the entire "breakpoint, pipline reader and properties" thing can be done in PowerShell.exe command line directly. Just add "$host.EnterNestedPrompt()" in my script, I can get current pipline status, explore properties as I wish. But in the windows world, everyone indulged themselves to the IDE thing. People always try to find an IDE desperately even there is no need for that. I bet those guys from "slash dot" will laugh at us again.

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Comments:
I don't think we need a full IDE - however, intellisense and syntax highlighting are gret things to have
 
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