Tuesday, July 02, 2013

PowerShell V3 Modules–Updated Help information

PowerShell V3 comes with a key feature: Updateable help. There is virtually no help shipped, ‘in the box’, but with the Update-Help cmdlet, you can download help for PowerShell core and for any module you have loaded on your system. This approach enables Microsoft to update help information without users having to wait for the next release of PowerShell. Not shipping Help in the box was always, to me, a daft way of going about it, but it was the only way we could get updateable help.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that in the recent past, there was a bug in the team’s build tools that led to all the data types of parameters to be missing from the Syntax block at the top of the Get-Help output. This information was still listed in the parameter descriptions shown by Get-Help -Full and Get-Help –Detailed. This may not have been a huge issue but for those of us who teach the discoverability aspects of PowerShell, it was yet another bug to work around.

Thankfully those nice folks at WSIX have found and fixed the bug and have rolled out new Help Information as of today. In all, 12 modules have had updated help published: CimCmdlet, Hyper-V, IScsi, Microsoft.PowerShell.Core, Microsoft.PowerShell.Management, Microsoft.PowerShell.Utility, MMAgent, PSScheduledJob, PSWorkflow, PSWorkflowUtility, ServerManager, and WindowsServerBackup.

At the time of writing, help for Windows Server Essentials 2012 and the pre-release modules for Server 2012 R2, Windows 8.1 and PowerShell v4 has not been updated, although Microsoft are working hard to get the fixes out. Hopefully by the time you read this, these modules too will be fixed.

Updateable help has proved it’s worth this time around. And while the error is certainly regrettable, such things do happen and thankfully, we now have a way to get this information fixed before the next version of Windows!

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