Learning… anything really [closed]

Tag: powershell Author: syiml Date: 2009-09-05

I'm particularly interested in Windows PowerShell, but here's a somewhat more general complaint:

When asking for help on learning something new, be it a small subject on PHP or understanding a class in Java, what usually happens is that people direct me towards the documentation pages.

What I'm looking for is somewhat of a course. A deep explanation of why something works the way it does.

I know my basic programming, like Java and C#. I've never seen C or C++, though I have seen a bit of assembler. I know what the Stack and Heap are, how boxing and unboxing works, why you have to deep-copy an array instead of copying the pointer and some other things.

Windows PowerShell on the other hand, I know nothing about. And I notice that when reading the small document or some code, I usually forget what it does or why it works.

What I am looking for is preferably, a nice tutorial that explains the beginnings, the concepts, and goes to more difficult things at a steady pace.

The only thing documentation can do is explain what a function does. That's no good to me since I don't know what I want to do yet. I could read about a thousand functions, and forget about most of them, because I don't need to implement them right after it. Randomly wandering through the documentation doesn't do me any good.

So conclude, what is a good tutorial on Windows Powershell? One which explains in clear language what is happening, one which builds on previous things learned.

I don't think googling this is a good idea. Doing a Google search on this would turn up numerous tutorials. And experience tells me that you have to look long and hard to find the gem you're looking for. That's why I'm asking here. Because this is the place where you can find more experienced people. Many of the PowerShell guys among you will know the good ones already, and by asking you, I avoid wasting time that could be spent learning. So to summarize: I will not google this!

Teach a man a fish. Personally, I respect someone who has tried, was unsuccessful, then asks for help, rather than someone who asks for help without trying. I can imagine your time is valuable, but so is ours.
@Alan you are supposed to jump at the prospect of doing someones work / homework / research in exchange for a few points of reputation!

Best Answer

I wrote a free eBook along these lines. I will let you be the judge of whether or not it is good but my goal was to provide folks with a good mental model for how PowerShell works. You can download it from here. It is about 60 pages or so. You can find a more comprehensive free ebook online called Master-PowerShell.

Of course, you can peruse StackOverflow for Q&A and also ask questions as you have them.


+1 for writing your own book. I'm impressed.
It's just a compedium of blog posts on the subject but folks were asking for the contents in book form.
shrug don't sell yourself short man, it's still awesome. I'm leaving the +1 :P

Other Answer1

I like this one


I wouldn't consider doing research on a programming language a failure, even if it takes you forever to find that "gem" you are looking for. Searching for awesome material is an art and the more you do it, the better you get at it. The community won't always be able (or willing) to answer all of your questions for you, especially if they know you haven't done your due diligence to look something up.


Whoa. That one is old. It even predates PowerShell 1. But indeed looks like a nice introduction.
yeah, it's what I learned on so I thought I'd pass it along.
I started really learning it when I started solving Project Euler problems with it. By now it's my scripting language of choice and a great help especially alongside .NET development :-)
+1 for "Searching for awesome material is an art and the more you do it, the better you get at it."

Other Answer2

"What tutorial do you recommend for learning PowerShell?" might be an answer to your question.

Other Answer3

I like to use the O'Reilly Pocket Reference versions of books to get started in a new subject. Easy to take with you on the plane, on a lunch break, or in the necessary (beats People magazine).

Here's the Windows PowerShell Pocket Reference at Amazon. $6.84 for a Used copy.