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A set of Powershell modules for sweetening Psake.

Enhances Psake with some commonly needed functionality when using a build server such as Jenkins. Useful not only for any build or continuous delivery system, but also in other scenarios where PowerShell scripts are used for maintenance.

Using with Psake

These modules may be imported by modifing the psake-config.ps1 and adding something like


The recommendation is to bootstrap the build process before passing control over to Psake. Typically this is used to configure the environment, add standard tool paths to the system path, and make certain that any other build dependencies are installed and/or configured.

A standard build.ps1 (included in the tools directory for convenience) that bootstraps VsVars32.bat, Nuget and Psake might look like:

function Get-Batchfile ($file)
  $cmd = "`"$file`" & set"
  cmd /c $cmd | % {
    $p, $v = $_.split('=')
    Set-Item -path env:$p -value $v

function VsVars32($version = '10.0')
  $name = "Psake-ReadVsVars-$version"
  $readVersion = Get-Variable -Scope Global -Name $name `
    -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue

  #continually jamming stuff into PATH is *not* cool ;0
  if ($readVersion) { return }

  Write-Host "Reading VSVars for $version"
  $key = if ([IntPtr]::size -eq 8)
    { "HKLM:SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\VisualStudio\$version" }
    { "HKLM:SOFTWARE\Microsoft\VisualStudio\$version" }

  $VsKey = Get-ItemProperty $key
  $VsRootDir = Split-Path $VsKey.InstallDir
  $BatchFile = Join-Path (Join-Path $VsRootDir 'Tools') 'vsvars32.bat'
  Get-Batchfile $BatchFile
  Set-Variable -Scope Global -Name $name -Value $true

function Get-CurrentDirectory
  $thisName = $MyInvocation.MyCommand.Name
  [IO.Path]::GetDirectoryName((Get-Content function:$thisName).File)

Set-Location (Get-CurrentDirectory)

if (Test-Path 'nuget.exe')
  &.\nuget update -Self
  $nugetPath = Join-Path (Get-CurrentDirectory) 'nuget.exe'
  (New-Object Net.WebClient).DownloadFile('', $nugetPath)

$buildPackageDir = Join-Path (Get-CurrentDirectory) 'packages'
$sourcePackageDir = Join-Path (Get-CurrentDirectory) '..\src\Packages'

@(@{Id = 'psake'; Version=''; Dir = $buildPackageDir; NoVersion = $true },
  @{Id = 'Midori'; Version=''; Dir = $buildPackageDir; NoVersion = $true },
  #still require dotnetZip to extract the 7-zip command line, sigh
  @{Id = 'DotNetZip'; Version=''; Dir = $buildPackageDir; NoVersion = $true },
  @{Id = 'xunit.runners'; Version='1.9.1'; Dir = $buildPackageDir; NoVersion = $true }) |
  % {
    $nuget = @('install', "$($_.Id)", '-v', "$($_.Version)",
      '-o', "`"$($_.Dir)`"")
    if (-not ([string]::IsNullOrEmpty($_.Source)))
      { $nuget += '-s', "`"$($_.Source)`"" }
    if ($_.NoVersion) { $nuget += '-ExcludeVersion' }
    &.\nuget $nuget

#Use DotNetZip to Extract 7za.exe, since shell expansion isn't in Server Core
$7zOutputPath = Join-Path $buildPackageDir '7zip'
$7zFilePath = Join-Path $7zOutputPath ''
if (-not (Test-Path $7zFilePath))
  $7zUrl = ''

  New-Item $7zOutputPath -Type Directory | Out-Null
  (New-Object Net.WebClient).DownloadFile($7zUrl, $7zFilePath)
  $dnZipPath = Get-ChildItem $buildPackageDir -Recurse -Filter '' |
    Select -ExpandProperty FullName -First 1
  Add-Type -Path $dnZipPath

  $zip = [Ionic.Zip.ZipFile]::Read($7zFilePath)

Remove-Module psake -erroraction silentlycontinue
Import-Module (Join-Path $buildPackageDir 'psake\tools\psake.psm1')
$bufferSize = $host.UI.RawUI.BufferSize
$newBufferSize = New-Object Management.Automation.Host.Size(512,
$host.UI.RawUI.BufferSize = $newBufferSize
Invoke-psake default
$host.UI.RawUI.BufferSize = $bufferSize

Included Modules

  • BuildTools - A set of helpers for common build related tasks
    • Invoke-AuthenticodeSignTool - Will find signtool.exe based on common locations and will exeucte it.
    • New-ZipFile - Will create or add to an existing zip file with the given list of files, and can re-root the paths. Depends on 7Zip (not included), but easy enough to restore with Nuget - see build.ps1 bootstrapper above.
  • Files
    • Add-AnnotatedContent - Concatenates files from a given folder into another file, annotating the source folder and filenames in C# / SQL compatible comments.
  • HipChat
    • Send-HipChatNotification - Given the current HipChat token, can send info to a given chat room, including specifying colors, etc.
  • XUnit
    • Invoke-XUnit - Will create a temporary .xunit file, will execute XUnit against it, and will write results Xml to disk, automatically merging NUnit style output, so that it may be easily used with, for instance, the Jenkins xUnit Plugin
    • New-XUnitProjectFile - Will create a .xunit project file given a list of assemblies, and a given output format. Called automatically by Invoke-XUnit
    • New-MergedNUnitXml - Merges NUnit specific format into a single file, summarizing the result information. Called automatically by Invoke-XUnit
  • Jenkins
    • Get-JenkinsS3Build - Will use a Jenkins job name and either a specific integer build id or will use the REST api and a given build result, to download the build assets from S3. Relies on the S3 plugin being installed in Jenkins.
  • Powershell-Contrib - A number of miscellaneous PowerShell helpers.
    • Stop-TranscriptSafe - Safely stops transcription, even in hosts (such as WinRM) that do not support it. Will not add to the global $Error object.
    • Select-ObjectWithDefault - This is similar to a safe navigation operator, where an error will not be thrown if a property does not exist on a given object. Furthermore, can return a default value if the prop doesn't exist.
    • Resolve-Error - Derived from the Jeffrey Snover original, but enhanced in a number of ways. Provides a one-line summary output (with special handling of SqlException), can accept pipeline input, etc.
    • Get-CredentialPlain - A wrapper around Get-Credential that works around the verbosity of newing up credentials from plain text.
    • Test-TranscriptionSupported - A means of checking for transcription support in the current host.
    • Test-Transcribing - A means of checking to see if the host is currently in the process of transcribing.
    • Remove-Error - Will clear the last X number of errors from the given $Error object. By default will clear from $global:Error
    • Start-TempFileTranscriptSafe - Will start transcribing the current host if it is possible, and will return the temp file name of the transcript file.
    • Get-TimeSpanFormatted - A simple .NET 2 safe timespan format of HH:MM:SS since TimeSpan.Format is a .NET 4 facility.
    • Get-SimpleErrorRecord - Will create a Management.Automation.ErrorRecord given just a text string (by creating a dummy Exception)
    • Compare-Hash - Will return a $true or $false value when comparing two Powershell hash objects - Compare-Hash @${Key = Value;} @${Key = Value;}
  • PsGet-Loader - Some helpers for PsGet
    • Install-PsGet - Will install PsGet to the current user module directory.
    • Install-CommunityExtensions - Will install the PsCx, first ensuring that PsGet is installed.
  • Remoting - Some WinRM helpers
    • Export-ModuleToSession - Will take modules out of the current session and try to push them to the remote session. This has a number of caveats, including being able to find the psm1 files on disk -- if the simple resolution process fails, this won't work. Prefer to use Export-SourceModuleToSession.
    • Export-SourceModuleToSession - This is the magic I could come up with for sharing modules across the wire. The local module files are copied to the remote machine by using a PSSession instance and passing the contents of the files as strings. They are rehydrated on the remote machine, written to temp and Import-Module is run against them so they become available to the session. This functionality should be built in to PowerShell, but it's not. Only remote sessions can be exported to a local session, but not the other way around.
  • Sql - Some helpers for working with SQL installs. This can be useful for setting up integration tests or similar.
    • New-SqlDatabase - Creates a new database using SMO. By default, SMO v10 is searched for and imported. The database can be detached afterwards, to ship with the build assets for instance, or the -NoDetach flag can be used to keep the database around afterwards. SMO style scripts with the GO delimiter are perfectly acceptable here.
    • Invoke-SqlFileSmo - Executes a SQL script file against a SQL Server. SMO style scripts with the GO delimiter are perfectly acceptable here.
    • Remove-SqlDatabase - Synonymous with 'Detach' - doesn't delete files from disk.
    • Transfer-SqlDatabase - Uses SMO transfer objects to create a backup copy of a live database. Slower, but safer (typically not needed in a build server sceario)
    • Backup-SqlDatabase - Creates a full database backup using SMO, to a .bak file
    • Restore-SqlDatabase - Restores a .bak file to a new database, providing the ability to rename both the files and database itself.
    • Copy-SqlDatabase - Provides either a backup/restore of an existing database, or a transfer. By default, provides the simpler backup/restore which is generally all that would ever be necessary on a build server.

Release Notes

  • - Bug fixes for loading SQL module in PowerShell v3 Invoke-SqlFileSmo ate exceptions instead of rethrowing them New-SqlDatabase was not honoring UserAccess setting Remove-SqlDatabase adds -Force switch
  • - Added NoDetach parameter to Copy-SqlDatabase
  • - Invoke-SqlFileSmo gains a InstanceName parameter
  • - Minor release fixes a bug in XUnit cmdlet that merges output Improved Add-AnnotatedContent so that it now has an -Include switch to limit the extensions of the given files to concatenate Fixed Add-AnnotatedContent so that it doesn't have to be run in Pipeline
  • - Reworked zipping support so that it uses 7z.exe/7za.exe behind the scenes instead of DotNetZip as there were performance / memory issues with DotNetZip being used inside of PowerShell. All SMO server connections Disconnect()
  • - After much trial and error, added additional Sql cmdlets for backup/ restore, transfer, and detachment. Minor tweaks to zip functionality / output.
  • - Added XUnit.NET support
  • - Initial release

Future Improvements

Next in the pipeline -

  • Fleshing out Pester tests in a few spots where applicable - some things are quite difficult to test easily since they are dependent on external systems
  • NCover - Run Xunit tests under NCover to generate coverage reports
  • NDepend - Run the popular dependency analysis tool
  • Gendarme - Run the Mono static analysis tool (IMHO, better than FxCop)
  • FxCop - Run the Microsoft static analsyis tool

Many of these 'runners' I have combined in a set of MSBuild based scripts, and they just need to be ported over. The MSBuild scripts became a bit difficult to share and unwiedly, hence the port to PSake where they can become more modular and easier to use / share.


  • Of course, James Kovacs needs a big THANK YOU for creating a reasonable build system for .NET. I struggled with bending MSBuild to my will on numerous occasions, and it often felt like jamming a round peg in a square hole.. yes, many times you can make MSBuild do stuff you didn't think was possible, but between the batching design / syntax, the verbose xml- ification of everything, and the various details around targets and their outputs, you end up with something that no one else on your team can understand. Builds have a much better mapping to procedural code, and Psake brings sanity to the .NET world.
  • The icon was derived from the Creative Commons image by David Peters here


If you see something wrong, feel free to submit a pull request. Coding guidelines are :

  • Indent with 2 spaces
  • 80 character lines
  • All cmdlets should have documentation, including all their parameters
  • 72 character lines for documentation
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