July 10, 2009 spout

PowerBoots makes me want to use PowerShell!

I’ve picked up PowerShell half a dozen times or more. The central premise, that I can pipe streams of objects instead of streams of text between programs, is pure genius. However, in the day-to-day, two things make me put it down again every single time:

  1. The differences between ps and cmd.exe are annoying and unnecessary.
  2. The lack of pushing the boundaries on the text output in a GUI window leaves me wondering what I really gain when I get over the hump of #1.

I understand the need to reboot” the DOS command line and get something scalable and consistent, but ps is a superset of cmd.exe and aliasing could’ve made the transition seamless. However, because little more than dir” works (and dir /s” doesn’t) I’m constantly bumping into barriers just trying to get my work done in the new shell.

And I’d be really ready to learn ps, especially since it’s everywhere now, but what am I really gaining? I never wrote a bunch of shell scripts in cmd.exe and I don’t find myself writing them in ps either, which means that the cool piping objects” thing doesn’t make my life any simpler. What I really really want is for the text window of the ps shell to also be something active, e.g. if I do a dir”, I’d like to be able to click on a file or folder in output of dir and open it or right-click on a file and choose a method on the .NET File object to execute. Even better, I’d like all of that functionality but with a keyboard command interface like the old Norton Commander used to provide. I’ve tried the ps IDEs and GUI shells and haven’t liked any of them.

Anyway, the first thing that’s made me really really want to move to ps is PowerBoots! It’s starting to really deliver on what I had hoped to get out of ps and it feels like Shoes, which I already know I love. Check it out!