Lee Holmes is a developer on the Microsoft Windows PowerShell team, and has been an authoritative source of information about PowerShell since its earliest betas. His vast experience with Windows PowerShell enables him to integrate both the 'how' and the 'why' into discussions. Lee's involvement with the PowerShell and administration community (via newsgroups, mailing lists, and blogs) gives him a great deal of insight into the problems faced by all levels of administrators and PowerShell users alike.
I've been using PowerShell for a little over a year now, and I've acquired quite a hefty collection of PSH-related books. Among those books, the 1st edition of Lee Holmes' "Windows PowerShell Cookbook" is one the most heavily read and dog-eared. The new 2nd edition adds chapters and sample scripts around PowerShell 2.0's new features, like Event Handling and Advanced Functions, but most importantly, it retains - and even expands upon - the obvious passion that Holmes has for PowerShell, and for helping people understand it.
Whether you're just getting into PowerShell now, or you're a seasoned expert who has been using PowerShell since it was codenamed "Monad", Lee Holmes' "Windows PowerShell Cookbook" should have a prominent position on your bookshelf, or in your e-book reader!
** Full disclosure: I work for Microsoft, but my job has nothing to do with PowerShell. This review is my own personal opinion. **
I have read many powershell books out there, and many of them are good, many are not so good. This book claims to be a cookbook, which typically I use as a reference to take ideas from. There is usually a short explanation of the concepts and uses of the technology. But I found I gained a good deal of practical application of the concepts in these short reviews. So in short this should not be your 1st Powershell book, but it should definitely be your second if you are an IT administrator.
The scripts are comprehensive, and useful. Lee has done a great job. I found immediate use that saved me a couple days in consulting time. So a $40 book and a couple of hours of my time against that cost, was quite a good return and I end up being the IT hero again.
I have read several of the chapters and used parts here and there in the book and I do have java programming experience so i am not a total newbie. As other readers have noted: This should not be your first scripting or PS book.
The books description does not make it out to be more than it is. A cookbook. It also provides a lot of PS basics but it also leaves a lot out. I was scratching my head on Arrays, lists and other collections. The book does not allow for clear distinctions between them but my experience told me there was a difference. Structuring the script was also passed over too quickly. I had to do some digging on the Internet for opinions and answers.
There are many scripts in the book but they are written or purposed in a way that do not expose the weaknesses/complexities of powershell like: -"how do I know my Get-function is going to return an collection? sometimes it returns an object and if it does this script will fail" -"how do I make my [array] of a static size?"
So I am going to keep this book around and read more of it BUT I am also going to look for another to partner it with.
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I highly recommend you get this book. First of all, this title is published by O'Reilly. This publisher has always been at the top level of weighty technical reference books. And this is just the case in this book. Second, the word "cookbook" is quite appropriate. You can search the index for a task and get right to it without digging through the whole book. If you are just starting out in Powershell (PS) and you're thinking of having a book around that you can grow into as you advance then this would be an excellent choice. PS can handle objects and the common features of a programming language. The book has a thorough section on fundamentals and then has several specific, "common tasks" sections. A good sysadmin will need to be familiar with PS. If you buy & download an electronic version, you can copy/paste snippets into PS. Author Lee Holmes also provides the example code at the title's home page. You can start running the examples right away. This is a book that you will keep referring to time & time again. It's that good. AzSailor
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Hows that for service? A response from the author having enhanced the book's contents! (Refer comments). This makes the book far more navigable and useful from a Kindle (including desktop version and cloud reader). I couldn't automatically update my book from the manageyourkindle page, so I had to contact customer service who very promptly got me all sorted out - do this if you happen to have the old Kindle version. Since the update I would recommend the Kindle version - I find it a useful and handy reference if I can't quite crack a certain task, and a hell of lot lighter than the print version :)
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This review applies to the Kindle version, which is currently flawed and requires an update. Please O'Reilly fix it!
The general content of the book is great, and worthy of the other rave reviews on the site. I needn't really repeat them here. The problem is being able to find it.
The contents for the Kindle version lists each 'recipe' along with the sub items of 'problem', 'solution', 'discussion' and 'see also' beneath them. This means, what should be a quick-reference sheet, becomes very busy and difficult to parse. It's even hard to follow what chapter you are looking through. You can compare the Kindle versus Print in the 'Look Inside' to see what I mean - the print version contents spans 10 pages, neatly laid out, while in the Kindle version you must click through at least 50 pages of useless links.
Kindle search can't really help you out, because it can't search with context, and a simple keyword search will yield lots of useless results.
In the end I typically give up and search Google instead, making this book a waste of money for me.