Saturday, April 30, 2016

Use Get-CommandVariable to auto generate variables for a command

In this post, I want to share a silly new PowerShell command Get-CommandVariable that I wrote and it is available on github as a powershell module and you can put inside your modules folder and start using it.  “What problem this is trying to solve?” you might be thinking.

You start writing a powershell script and you want to pass variables to a command.  For example, you want to create a new AzureRM Web app using command New-AzureRMWebApp. Then you will have to write your command like this using $variables.

$ResourceGroupName = "mycustomresourcegroup"
$Name = "webapp01"
$Location = "centralus"

New-AzureRMWebApp  -ResourceGroupName $ResourceGroupName -Name $Name -Location $Location

Let’s understand what you had to go through. Type all the parameters and its variables with a $sign.  Copy those variables at the top so you can initialize them. That’s not the tricky part. The thing that gets me the most is trying to think names for those variables and then copy the variables at the top.

So Get-CommandVariable will create this all for you.  How?  Just specify for which command you want to generate automatic $variables and it will do it. In the below example, we are using New-AzureRMWebApp command and after it generates the output,  I just copy the text and put it inside ISE window.

PS C:>Get-CommandVariable –CommandName New-AzureRMWebApp
$ResourceGroupName = ""
$Name = ""
$Location = ""
New-AzureRMWebApp -ResourceGroupName $ResourceGroupName -Name $Name -Location $Location

If you are using powershell for quite a long time you may know that powershell commands have certain parameters as mandatory and others are not mandatory.  Then there are commands that will work different combination of parameters. And Get-CommandVariable will work in those scenarios as well.

For example, if you provide –ShowAll option it will generate variables for all the parameters not just mandatory ones.

PS C:>Get-CommandVariable –CommandName New-AzureStorageAccount -ListParameterSets
$StorageAccountName = ""
$Label = ""
$Description = ""
$AffinityGroup = ""
$Type = ""
$Profile = ""

New-AzureStorageAccount  -StorageAccountName $StorageAccountName -Label $Label -Description $Description -AffinityGroup $AffinityGroup -Type $Type -Profile $Profile

You can specify to list all the ParameterSets (think: different combinations of parameters) that a particular command expects. For example,

PS C:>Get-CommandVariable –CommandName New-AzureStorageAccount -ListParameterSets

Then you can tell Get-CommandVariable to generate variables for a particular ParameterSet. In the below example we are chosing ParameterSetAffinityGroup
PS C:>Get-CommandVariable –CommandName New-AzureStorageAccount  -ParameterSetName ParameterSetAffinityGroup
$StorageAccountName = ""
$AffinityGroup = ""

New-AzureStorageAccount  -StorageAccountName $StorageAccountName -AffinityGroup $AffinityGroup
By default, I am showing just the mandatory parameters, since my goal to get going as quickly as possible. To show all parameters you will have to provide –ShowAll flag. So that’s it and if you think this might be useful to you then give it a try. You can provide feedback in the comments below or submit issues directly on github as well.