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Some Relevant PowerShell Books

By Phil Factor,

I’ve been reading quite a number of books on Powershell and SQL Server recently. Actually, I’ve read only two that are dedicated to covering both topics together, though several PowerShell books are useful to the database professional.  The first of these, Professional SQL Server 2008 Administration with Windows PowerShell, by Ananthakumar Muthusamy (MAK)  and Yan Pan, covers a wide range of topics and has some useful information but seems to me to suffer from being written before SQLPS matured.  More immediately useful nowadays is SQL Server 2012 with PowerShell V3 Cookbook by Donabel Santos MVP. It is less ambitious in its scope, but nails the topic of using SMO with PowerShell more thoroughly. It is essential reading for any SQL Server professional.

Other books touch on administrative tasks. I like Richard Siddaway’s ‘PowerShell in Practice’.  For anything WMI, use the free eBook ‘WMI Query Language via PowerShell’ by Ravikanth Chaganti.  For covering general Windows admin work, I rate The Windows Powershell 2.0 Adminstrator’s Pocket Consultant by William Stanek though it isn’t the sort of book one would want to read for pleasure.

For general information about PowerShell there is one essential PowerShell book, Bruce Payette’s ‘Windows PowerShell in Action, Second Edition’. It is full of insights and talks directly to professional programmers.  Although the author is occasionally remorseless in his thoroughness to get into detail, it is always rewarding to read. Lee Holmes’ ‘Windows PowerShell Cookbook’ is very thorough and I refer to it quite a lot for the excellent information, but mostly via its index. It’s only fault is an editorial one, and that is that the subject matter isn’t a good fit with the idea of a cookbook, and the analogy is occasionally strained. Lee Holmes also  wrote the useful  ‘Windows PowerShell Pocket Reference, 2nd Edition which uses the same information in a more straightforward way, but with less detail.

For a more developer-oriented take on PowerShell, I enjoy Douglas Finke’s blog. He also  wrote ‘Windows PowerShell for developers’, which has some gems in it but, for me,suffers from insufficient editing. It is probably the best PowerShell book for developers, but it reads more like a series of extended blog posts.

For the complete beginner to PowerShell, I’m not sure what to recommend. I started by reading Bruce Payette’s book, but you may have to find one of the last real bookshops in your area and nose into a few to find what suits you best. Have you read any really good PowerShell books recently? I’d be interested to hear about it.

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