Wednesday, 21 July 2010

IDE's, ISE's and script editors

Reading through various posts, articles and guides I've come across references to IDE's and ISE's, and had no idea what on earth they were. I think it's typical case of programming types assuming everyone knows these things, while forgetting that those of us from a non-programming sysadmin point of view (after all the main forcus of PowerShell) won't have heard of them before.

It took me a while to get my head around what they actually refer to, so I thought I'd share what I found. In simple terms :

ISE = Integrated Script Environment
IDE = Integraded Development Environment

so essentially they're both fancy names for a script editor with some fancy bells and whistles!

There certainly seem to be a wide variety of editors out there to choose from, both free and commercial, with many apparently including support for other languages as well, which might be useful for some people. I've been a long term fan of EditPlus as my editor of choice for scripting, especially after discovering that you can download additional syntax lists for it, so it can do all the colour coding of your code even with new languages. For PowerShell though, especially seeing some of the alternatives out there, I think it might be time to move on!

The editor I've ended giving a try is PowerGUI, since it's free and seems to have some very handy features which will certainly help with learning the language. I'll admit I was a little hessitant about the whole Intellisense thing, since it's not something I've really used before, but the help in remembering which switches etc are available will certainly help. The other thing I particularly like is the mouse over help, which gives you a quick reminder of the complete syntax of the relevant command.

Of course now I just have to get my head around the language itself! It's weird to think this is the first time since I was a student where I've tried to learn a new language properly! :-) OK, so it's the slower method, but I think it'll be worth the effort to learn it properly, and therefore use it properly, rather than just try finding the new commends to do old methods, and not get the full benefit of the language. I've already seen so many posts from people talking about using old methods rather than making full use of the pipeline, so I'm determined to do it properly.

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