I was talking with Josh Boyles, our SharePoint Operations lead the other day and we were talking about his writing. He loves to write. I encouraged him to do some technical writing and he expressed interest. I told him I'd be happy to host it for him. Here's one of a few. I'll update these posts so you can easily navigate to the follow up posts.
When I was in high school my friends and I found a vacant field and filled it with hay bales, huge wooden spools and plywood bases to create our very own paintball course. One of our favorite games was center flag. It was very similar to capture the flag, except instead of two flags, one on either end, there was just one flag in the middle. Whoever grabbed it and brought it back to their base won.
After a few rounds I grabbed a couple of teammates and asked them to help me out. Once the round opened I wanted them to lay all their ammo down on the opposing base. I handed one of them my marker, got as far forward as was allowed, and waited for the countdown. As soon as the game started I took off towards the center at a sprint, hearing paintballs whizzing just over my head and the surprised cries of the other team. I slid into the center base, grabbed the flag in one fluid motion and took off towards our base. By the time the other team realized what was going on they had already lost.
I learned a few lessons from this experience:
First, I am a tactical genius on the level of … I don't know … Hannibal. Not the cannibal, the other one.
Second, I learned that the simplest plan is usually the best one.
And the fact that simpler is better than more complex leads us to just one possible conclusion:
Obviously. No other conclusion makes sense.
It was only after GUIs became the mode and Microsoft began replacing the command line administration of their products with GUI administration did they realize that the command line still had a place. Some things were better and/or easier (and isn't easier always better?) on the command line. Around the time Retro became the new black Microsoft did a 180 and started going retro with their interfaces. Thus was born PowerShell. Since this is a 101 course (and a blog post) we're not going in depth about the history of powershell, but if you're really interested, Wikipedia is always a good source.
No, here we want to talk about how to get in and get PowerShell working for you, especially when it comes to administering SharePoint (even more specifically, especially when it comes to SharePoint operations). Why will we be talking about PowerShell in relation to SharePoint administration? What a perfect segway into my introduction!
TO THE INTRODUCTION
We'll be talking about SharePoint ops a lot because I'm an operational engineer for SharePoint. My name is Josh, I work with Joel (you may know him as … the person who owns this blog), and I like video games (how many hours have I wasted on Skyrim? You don't want to know), playing the guitar, hiking in the mountains around our house and writing (as you can probably tell). I've been SharePointing for just over a year now, and still have a ton to learn. These posts are an excuse for me to hone my writing and learn more about SharePoint.
And first on the list of things to learn? Powershell. Why? People have given plenty of good reasons before, but I like to keep it simple. I'm learning PowerShell because there are some things that can ONLY be done in PowerShell (moving a site collection to a new content DB, for instance) and many things that are easier.
Because there's a lot to PowerShell, we're going to split things up into a few blog posts. This first one is just a bit of an introduction. In upcoming posts we'll talk about:
- PowerShell Basics AKA the only two commandlets you'll ever need
- PowerShell Slightly-Less-Basics AKA Unleashing the CRACKE-er … objects and pipelines
- PowerShell Scripting AKA why would you enter that command a thousand times when the good Lord invented computers for that sort of thing?
- Automating with PowerShell AKA fire and forget administration
Obviously those are pretty broad topics. Entire books can (and have) been written about them. I'll refer to these books if you want to dig deeper, which, let's be honest, you probably will. These blog posts are just supposed to whet your appetite and get you started. So tune in next time, when we talk about the only two commandlets you'll ever need (and what a commandlet is), and I tell more stories about my heroics on the paintball field.