July 22, 2010 / by Alex Riedel / Back from TechEd, Windows PowerShell / 1 Comment

Back from TechEd: PowerShell is hard to learn

It’s actually kind of funny. I heard the same thing about VBScript years ago, about C++ a decade earlier, and being aware that I am dating myself here, about C, Pascal, Windows Programming, VI, Emacs, punch cards, VT100 terminals and about rubbing two sticks together to start a fire.

The point is, everything that is new, unfamiliar and sufficiently complex requires some effort to learn. PowerShell contains quite some powerful constructs and commands, paired with a style of language that looks alien to the uninitiated. I understand that the sheer amount of $ signs, squiggly braces, underscores and nested parenthesis can make you dizzy at first glance. I felt the same way back when I started writing scripts for BASH on a UNIX machine using VI. It is quite similar actually.

Nonetheless, just dive in and start doing things. However, just like with learning a real life foreign language, don’t try to translate. Translation forces you to use one language’s grammar and constructs in a way that they were never intended to be used.
So don’t try to translate your VBScript files one-to-one to PowerShell, you just end up with strange looking VBScript programs.

Learn to THINK in the language you are using, you will find that you learn any language faster and in more detail. Start the same way you learned to write in your native language: Read.
There are thousands of sample scripts on the Internet in a huge variation of topics, sizes and detail. Study them. Once you can read the more complex samples you will find yourself eager to use this new language and write some cool scripts.

It’s not hard, it’s just new.

P.S. If you want to learn faster, we here at SAPIEN do sell books, videos and training for PowerShell, just thought I mention that too.

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