PowerShell: Embed binary data in your script

When writing automation scripts or modules, you might find that you frequently reference external binary data.

Binary data? Well, that accounts for all data!” you might say.

Yes, that’s true. But I’m talking about binary data as opposed to files containing simple ASCII or UTF-8 data. Maybe there’s some better terminology to describe that, but hey it works for now. Binary data could include things such as:

  • Word documents
  • Executable (Portable Executable format)
  • Code libraries (DLLs)
  • Registry files
  • etc.

In the case of executables, oftentimes they provide useful functionality that would take many lines of PowerShell code to replicate. Some developers, for better or for worse, elect to use these utilities instead of going through the effort of writing the necessary code to handle the function natively in PowerShell. This creates an additional dependency when porting the PowerShell code, as the author must be sure to include the utility with their code, or otherwise ensure (via documentation, for example) that the target user will already have it available.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to depend on the user having some executable pre-installed, just to get your script to work, though? Unfortunately the little topic of “software licensing” can sometimes prevent redistribution of software that you are not given explicit permission to copy, however there are also many cases where this is allowed (eg. open-source projects). The work-around in cases where redistribution is not allowed, is to either direct the user where to download the software from, or automate it for them.

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PowerShell: Shortening Web Service Type Names with a Hashtable

When you use the New-WebServiceProxy class, you probably have noticed that PowerShell dynamically generates some really ugly type names. For example, if we get a reference to the Bing web service (you’ll need to get an API key first):

$BingSearch = New-WebServiceProxy -Class BingSearch -Uri "http://api.search.live.net/search.wsdl?AppID=$ApiKey"

… and examine the types contained within it:

$BingSearch.GetType().Assembly.GetExportedTypes() | select FullName

… you’ll notice some ridiculously long type names based on your API key, such as:

Microsoft.PowerShell.Commands.NewWebserviceProxy.AutogeneratedTypes.WebServiceProxyXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX.SearchRequest

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PowerShell: Dynamic Parameters and Parameter Validation

Background on Parameter Validation PowerShell advanced functions allow their creators to specify a fair amount of metadata that describes their parameters. One huge benefit of parameter declarations in PowerShell is that it’s possible to validate input right at the parameter level, before you execute any code in the body of the function. This helps make … Read more PowerShell: Dynamic Parameters and Parameter Validation

PowerShell: Getting started with WMI Events

Introduction PowerShell version 1 provided good integration with WMI using the Get-WmiObject cmdlet, allowing you to easily retrieve and modify WMI instances, and call WMI methods, but PowerShell v2 has taken it, and many other things, a lot farther. One of those areas is eventing, and not just WMI eventing, but responding to WMI events … Read more PowerShell: Getting started with WMI Events