Particularly with SharePoint 2010, I have become a huge fan of Microsoft PowerShell. In addition to writing complex PowerShell scripts (.ps1 files), I have found it very useful to write my own C#-based PowerShell Cmdlets to use in my scripts.

This basic tutorial illustrates how to create a basic PowerShell Cmdlet with a couple of parameters. In the future, I will be adding addition posts about more indepth topics. However, this tutorial should get you started if you are new to writing PowerShell Cmdlets.

For this tutorial I am using Visual Studio 2010. In addition, you will need the PowerShell SDK installed (comes with the Windows 7 SDK if you have installed that instead).

  1. In Visual Studio 2010, create a new Class Library project targeted to .NET Framework 3.5 (Visual C# > Windows > Class Library). OPTIONAL: For consistency, I recommend naming the project with the name of the actions. For instance, if you want to create a “Get-MyPsCmdlet” command, name the project “MyPsCmdlet”.

  2. Delete the Class1.cs file included by default.

  3. Add a reference to System.Management.Automation.dll (you will need to browse to the assembly at C:\Program Files (x86)\Reference Assemblies\Microsoft\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0).

  4. In the Solution Explorer right-click the project name and select Add > Class.

  5. Create a new class named with the command and the verb. For instance, for “Get-MyPsCmdlet” name your class file “MyPsCmdletGet.cs”.

  6. Add “System.Management.Automation” in the usings statements and set the basetype of the class to Cmdlet as follows:

  7. Above the class declaration, you will notice “[Cmdlet(VerbsCommon.Get, “MyPsCmdlet”)]”. In these properties you can define the name, verb, default parameter set, etc., of the Cmdlet. Using the “Get” common verb and “MyPsCmdlet” will result in a command of “Get-MyPsCmdlet”. There are a number of common verb sets that you may use. For consistence with help documentation and localization, it is important to use a common verb whenever possible. If a common verb does not fit your needs, you can populate that value with a string of your choice.

    Verb Sets:

    • VerbsCommon
    • VerbsCommunications
    • VerbsData
    • VerbsDiagnostic
    • VerbsLifecycle
    • VerbsOther
    • VerbsSecurity
  8. To add your code to run when the command is executed, simply override the “ProcessRecord()” method:

  9. In the Cmdlet you can write text to the console like any other console application with “Console.Write” or “Console.WriteLine”. However, most PowerShell Cmdlets return objects. Here we have a simple object named “MyObject” that we are returning to the console:

  10. With PowerShell Cmdlets you can add parameters of just about any .NET type. In this instance:

    • “public SwitchParameter CreatedTomorrow” is used to define a flag parameter for the Cmdlet. There is no value passed, it simply exists or does not exists. For example: “Get-MyPsCmdlet -CreatedTomorrow”.
    • “public MyObject MyObj” is used to create a parameter that requires an object with “MyObject” as the type. For example: “$myobj = Get-MyPsCmdlet”, then “Get-MyPsCmdlet -MyObj $myobj”.
    • “public string ObjectName” is used to create a parameter that requires a string. For values with spaces, use quotations around the string.

  11. Now that we have our Cmdlet writen, we can build and run it. In Visual Studio, build the project.

  12. Open PowerShell.

  13. Import the assembly using Import-Module:

  14. Run the Cmdlet:

That’s it. You now have a fully functional PowerShell Cmdlet. Stay tuned for more advanced PowerShell Cmdlet posts.

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