PowerShell with a Purpose Blog

PowerShell v3: It's on the Web

Of course, this is all subject to mystandard PowerShell v3 caveat - keep in mind we're dealing with pre-release code.

One of the neat features in the commercial PowerGUI Pro product from Quest was a Web-based PowerShell gateway. Basically, you Web into a site that presents a PowerShell-esque shell, and run commands from there.

Something very similar now ships with PowerShell v3. It does have dependencies on IIS, so this isn't something you'd install on every one of your servers. But you don't need to: Instead, you're meant to establish something like a "gateway server" or "PowerShell proxy" that lives in your datacenter and exposes the PowerShell Web UI for all to see. Called PowerShell Web Access (I guess we'll use PWA), this is a pretty nifty new feature.

There are some great screen shots at http://blog.powershell.no/2011/09/14/windows-powershell-web-access/ that provide a good walkthrough of the feature - serious geek-drool here. The interface consists of a blue Web page that shows your output, with a fixed text box at the bottom where you type commands. Buttons provide access to previous commands (not unlike the console's command buffer). It's even decently usable on an iPhone - although I can't say that I'd relish the act.

I know a lot of folks out there are non-excited about having to learn a command-line instead of just using the GUI for everything, but PWA shows one of the big advantages. A GUI is tough to use on a smartphone, even via Remote Desktop or something, just because the screen and controls weren't designed to run a GUI. But it's pretty easy to kick off a command or two, review the results, and go back to watching the game. 

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