DayPath Journal

You can’t effectively replace *.cmd scripts with *.ps1 scripts without these key Powershell ingredients…

I stopped experimenting with PowerShell years ago because I was ignorant of the following (or the following was not released around 2007–08):


The $PSScriptRoot automatic variable. Without this variable it is very difficult to make flexible, generic scripts, using relative paths (especially for dot-sourcing). There are workarounds that do not use this automatic variable but I never ran across them in introductory talks about PowerShell from the early 2000s. One caveat: $PSScriptRoot will be empty when inspected from the Shell or in ISE—it only has a value while running from a script.


The $env: drive as a direct replacement of CMD console environment variables. I am sure the $env: drive was around since PowerShell 1.0 but it took me way too long to see that, say, $env:USERPROFILE is the same as %USERPROFILE%and it can be easily interpolated in a string.


The line continuation character `. Few know about the *.cmd file line continuation character, ^ and, once it’s in play, I could not leave it behind in PowerShell—so I’m glad to see the *.ps1 equivalent.


Apparently undocumented New-Object constructor syntax. As of this writing, this form of -TypeName syntax is not documented (by MSDN—excluding some Blog or forum post):

$uri = New-Object System.Uri("./", [System.UriKind]::Relative)


$uri = New-Object -TypeName System.Uri("./", [System.UriKind]::Relative)

What is apparently encouraged is this syntax:

New-Object `
    -TypeName System.Uri `
    -ArgumentList ("./", [System.UriKind]::Relative)

As a C# guy struggling to relate to PowerShell, I take the first form.


The & operator. Here is a function from my IIS functions that uses PowerShell to call TAKEOWN and ICACLS:

function Restore-PermissionsForWebServerGroup($Path)
    if(-not(Test-Path $Path))
        Write-Warning "Path $Path was not found. Unable to restore permissions."
    & TAKEOWN /f $Path /a
    & ICACLS $Path /reset /t
    & ICACLS $Path `
        /grant IIS_IUSRS:(CI)(OI)(IO)(RX) `
        /t /l /q

I really should have listed this as #1. This & operator is the bridge to the CMD past on the way to a PowerShell future!