After my PowerShell Git work, I wanted to do a few more things at the command line related to Visual Studio, .NET, and the repository I was working with. In searching for some Visual Studio related PowerShell script code, I came across PowerShellGet. I hadn’t used it or read much about it before so I needed to do a little discovery before using it. After much Git work in PowerShell, my biggest initial problem was referring to it as PowerShellGit.

You Get a Package Manager and You Get a Package Manager

Everyone gets a package manager. Within the context of PowerShell and .NET packages you may hear about PsGet, PowerShellGet, PowerShellGallery, OneGet, Package Management, NuGet, MyGet, and Chocolatey. I was very familiar with NuGet, MyGet, and Choclately but I wasn’t so clear on the distinctions between PsGet, PowerShellGet, PowerShellGallery, OneGet, and “Package Management”. I thought This StackOverflow post did a decent job of clarifying the distinctions.

Okay so OneGet is a “Package Manager Manager” and was renamed to “Package Management”. Yo dawg I heard you like package managers so I put a “package manager” around your package managers so you can manage packages while you manage packages. One “package manager” to rule them all and in the darkness, bind them. Okay, that’s enough.

It appeared PSGet was like NuGet for PowerShell scripts before PowerShellGet made it obsolete but some people were referring to PowerShellGet as PSGet which can add to the confusion. Finally PowerShellGallery was a package source/repo like but specifically for PowerShell scripts and cmdlets that can be installed and otherwise managed by PowerShellGet.

Introducing PackageManagement in Windows 10 provides a good conceptual overview:

Installing Package Management

Since I was on Windows 10, I was relieved I didn’t have to install or configure anything to start using Package Management. Otherwise it can be obtained from Windows Management Framework 5+ or via OneGet GitHub.

Finding a Package

I started by searching for the functionality I was looking for on PowerShellGallery website. In this case I was looking for script code to locate the latest Visual Studio location without hardcoding it or making too many assumptions.

Installing a Package

After trying to install the first package I was surprised by the following error.

C:\source\myproject [develop]> Install-Module -Name VSSetup                                    
Install-Module : A parameter cannot be found that matches parameter name 'Name'.                                        
At line:1 char:16                                                                                                       
+ Install-Module -Name VSSetup                                                                                          
+                ~~~~~                                                                                                  
    + CategoryInfo          : InvalidArgument: (:) [Install-Module], ParameterBindingException                          
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : NamedParameterNotFound,Install-Module                                                     

I later found out this was because I had PSGet installed already (to my surprise) and that defined Install-Module so it conflicted with PowerShellGet and was getting picked up instead of the function with the same name in PowerShellGet. Per that post I would later delete PSGet to resolve the conflict. However I didn’t know this was the problem at first so I kept going.

At first I thought maybe I had a typo with the command or package name or maybe PowerShellGet wasn’t installed. I decided to try Find-Module to verify the package did exist by that name in the online gallery.

C:\source\myproject [develop]> Find-Module VSSetup                                             
NuGet provider is required to continue                                                                                  
PowerShellGet requires NuGet provider version '' or newer to interact with NuGet-based repositories. The NuGet 
 provider must be available in 'C:\Program Files\PackageManagement\ProviderAssemblies' or                               
'C:\Users\geoffh\AppData\Local\PackageManagement\ProviderAssemblies'. You can also install the NuGet provider by        
running 'Install-PackageProvider -Name NuGet -MinimumVersion -Force'. Do you want PowerShellGet to install    
and import the NuGet provider now?                                                                                      
[Y] Yes  [N] No  [S] Suspend  [?] Help (default is "Y"): Y                                                              
Version    Name                                Repository           Description                                         
-------    ----                                ----------           -----------                                 VSSetup                             PSGallery            Visual Studio Setup PowerShell Module               

Interestingly enough, after running Find-Module, subsequent calls to Install-Module started picking up the version in PowerShellGet, presumably because that module just got loaded. Again I wasn’t aware of the module conflict at the time. I no longer received the error about the Name parameter. However I now realized installing a module is for all users (by default) and that requires running PowerShell as Administrator.

C:\source\myproject [develop]> Install-Module -Name VSSetup                                    
Install-Module : Administrator rights are required to install modules in 'C:\Program Files\WindowsPowerShell\Modules'.  
Log on to the computer with an account that has Administrator rights, and then try again, or install                    
'C:\Users\geoffh\Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Modules' by adding "-Scope CurrentUser" to your command. You can also try  
running the Windows PowerShell session with elevated rights (Run as Administrator).                                     
At line:1 char:1                                                                                                        
+ Install-Module -Name VSSetup                                                                                          
+ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                                                                                          
    + CategoryInfo          : InvalidArgument: (:) [Install-Module], ArgumentException                                  
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : InstallModuleNeedsCurrentUserScopeParameterForNonAdminUser,Install-Module                 

I was too lazy to restart the shell so I added -Scope CurrentUser to the install command.

C:\source\myproject [develop]> Install-Module -Name VSSetup -Scope CurrentUser                 
Untrusted repository                                                                                                    
You are installing the modules from an untrusted repository. If you trust this repository, change its                   
InstallationPolicy value by running the Set-PSRepository cmdlet. Are you sure you want to install the modules from      
[Y] Yes  [A] Yes to All  [N] No  [L] No to All  [S] Suspend  [?] Help (default is "N"): Y                               

Getting Familiar with PackageMangement (“OneGet”) Commands

First I wanted to see what commands are available within PackageManagement.

C:\source\myproject [develop ≡]> Get-Command -Module PackageManagement                                    

CommandType Name Version Source
----------- ---- ------- ------
Cmdlet Find-Package PackageManagement
Cmdlet Find-PackageProvider PackageManagement
Cmdlet Get-Package PackageManagement
Cmdlet Get-PackageProvider PackageManagement
Cmdlet Get-PackageSource PackageManagement
Cmdlet Import-PackageProvider PackageManagement
Cmdlet Install-Package PackageManagement
Cmdlet Install-PackageProvider PackageManagement
Cmdlet Register-PackageSource PackageManagement
Cmdlet Save-Package PackageManagement
Cmdlet Set-PackageSource PackageManagement
Cmdlet Uninstall-Package PackageManagement
Cmdlet Unregister-PackageSource PackageManagement

Next I discovered the parameters to Get-Package so I can see what packages are installed and get details about them. Running it without any arguments can generate a long list and can be painfully slow (ask me how I know) since it will include package sources like MSI.

C:\source\myproject [develop ≡]> get-help get-package                                                     


Get-Package [[-Name] <string[]>] [-RequiredVersion <string>] [-MinimumVersion <string>] [-MaximumVersion <string>]
[-AllVersions] [-Force] [-ForceBootstrap] [-ProviderName {Programs | msi | msu | NuGet | PowerShellGet | psl |
chocolatey}] [-IncludeWindowsInstaller] [-IncludeSystemComponent] [<CommonParameters>]

Get-Package [[-Name] <string[]>] [-RequiredVersion <string>] [-MinimumVersion <string>] [-MaximumVersion <string>]
[-AllVersions] [-Force] [-ForceBootstrap] [-ProviderName {Programs | msi | msu | NuGet | PowerShellGet | psl |
chocolatey}] [-AdditionalArguments <string[]>] [<CommonParameters>]

Get-Package [[-Name] <string[]>] [-RequiredVersion <string>] [-MinimumVersion <string>] [-MaximumVersion <string>]
[-AllVersions] [-Force] [-ForceBootstrap] [-ProviderName {Programs | msi | msu | NuGet | PowerShellGet | psl |
chocolatey}] [-Destination <string>] [-ExcludeVersion] [-Scope {CurrentUser | AllUsers}] [-SkipDependencies]

Get-Package [[-Name] <string[]>] [-RequiredVersion <string>] [-MinimumVersion <string>] [-MaximumVersion <string>]
[-AllVersions] [-Force] [-ForceBootstrap] [-ProviderName {Programs | msi | msu | NuGet | PowerShellGet | psl |
chocolatey}] [-Scope {CurrentUser | AllUsers}] [-PackageManagementProvider <string>] [-Type {Module | Script |
All}] [-AllowClobber] [-SkipPublisherCheck] [-InstallUpdate] [-NoPathUpdate] [<CommonParameters>]

Finding Installed Packages

First I tried searching by partial name with VS*, which returned more results than I would’ve thought (output below is truncated).

C:\source\myproject [develop ≡]> get-package -name VS*                                                    
Name                           Version          Source                           ProviderName                           
----                           -------          ------                           ------------                           
vs_networkemulationmsi_x64     15.0.26208                                        msi                                    
vs_SQLClickOnceBootstrappermsi 15.0.26208                                        msi                                    
vs_communitymsires             15.0.26228                                        msi                                    
vs_filehandler_amd64           15.0.26228                                        msi                                    
VS Update core components      14.0.25431                                        msi                                    
vs_update3notification         14.0.25431                                        msi                                    
VSSetup                    https://www.powershellgallery... PowerShellGet                          
vs_cuitcommoncoremsi           15.0.26208                                        msi                                    

Since I was only looking for PowerShellGet packages, it made more sense to search by provider name.

C:\source\myproject [develop ≡]> get-package -providername PowerShellGet                                  
Name                           Version          Source                           ProviderName                           
----                           -------          ------                           ------------                           
VSSetup                    https://www.powershellgallery... PowerShellGet                          

Listing Commands Within PowerShellGet

Next I wanted to explore what’s inside a given PowerShellGet package. Before I could do that, I needed to know the commands PowerShellGet exposed.

C:\source\myproject [develop ≡]> get-command -module PowerShellGet                                        

CommandType Name Version Source
----------- ---- ------- ------
Function Find-Command PowerShellGet
Function Find-DscResource PowerShellGet
Function Find-Module PowerShellGet
Function Find-RoleCapability PowerShellGet
Function Find-Script PowerShellGet
Function Get-InstalledModule PowerShellGet
Function Get-InstalledScript PowerShellGet
Function Get-PSRepository PowerShellGet
Function Install-Module PowerShellGet
Function Install-Script PowerShellGet
Function New-ScriptFileInfo PowerShellGet
Function Publish-Module PowerShellGet
Function Publish-Script PowerShellGet
Function Register-PSRepository PowerShellGet
Function Save-Module PowerShellGet
Function Save-Script PowerShellGet
Function Set-PSRepository PowerShellGet
Function Test-ScriptFileInfo PowerShellGet
Function Uninstall-Module PowerShellGet
Function Uninstall-Script PowerShellGet
Function Unregister-PSRepository PowerShellGet
Function Update-Module PowerShellGet
Function Update-ModuleManifest PowerShellGet
Function Update-Script PowerShellGet
Function Update-ScriptFileInfo PowerShellGet

Finding Commands in PowerShell Modules

With the name of a specific package handy, I can then list commands it exposes.

C:\source\myproject [develop ≡]> Find-Command -ModuleName VSSetup                                         

Name Version ModuleName Repository
---- ------- ---------- ----------
Get-VSSetupInstance VSSetup PSGallery
Select-VSSetupInstance VSSetup PSGallery

Viewing Command Details

Help for a command in a PowerShellGet package can be viewed like any other built-in command.

C:\source\myproject [develop ≡]> get-help get-vssetupinstance                                             


Enumerates instances of Visual Studio and related products.

Get-VSSetupInstance [-All] [-Prerelease] [<CommonParameters>]

Get-VSSetupInstance -LiteralPath <String[]> [<CommonParameters>]

Get-VSSetupInstance [-Path] <String[]> [<CommonParameters>]

Enumerates instances of Visual Studio and related products. By default, instances with fatal errors are not
returned by you can pass `-All` to enumerate them as well.

Online Version:

To see the examples, type: "get-help Get-VSSetupInstance -examples".
For more information, type: "get-help Get-VSSetupInstance -detailed".
For technical information, type: "get-help Get-VSSetupInstance -full".
For online help, type: "get-help Get-VSSetupInstance -online"

Viewing Package Details

Piping get-package to format-list can be handy in cases for nitty-gritty package details: get-package -name vssetup | format-list.

Viewing Module Contents

As with any module, PowerShellGet installed or not, I can peek into the contents.

Discovering Other Packages Online

Initially I was browsing functions in packages just through the search on Key functions and other information can be found right in the search results with more detail available on the package’s detail page – VSSetup for example. Later it was often more convenient to search from the command line with Find-Module.

C:\source\myproject [develop ≡]> find-module *build*                                                                    

Version Name Repository Description
------- ---- ---------- -----------
0.0.47 BuildHelpers PSGallery Helper functions for PowerShell CI/CD scenarios.
3.6.4 InvokeBuild PSGallery Build and test automation in PowerShell VMware.ImageBuilder PSGallery This Windows PowerShell module contains PowerCLI...
1.15.0 Saritasa.Build PSGallery Contains functions to execute MSBuild targets, r...
2.6.0 Invoke-MsBuild PSGallery Executes the MSBuild.exe tool against the specif...
1.4.0 cMDTBuildLab PSGallery A DSC Module to help automize deployment Windows... LabBuilder PSGallery Builds Hyper-V Windows Labs out of text based co...
2.16.0 Indented.Build PSGallery Indented.Build centralises the build processes /...
1.0.20 PSModuleBuild PSGallery Easily build PowerShell modules for a set of fun...
1.0.2 PowerBuild PSGallery Integrate MSBuild into PowerShell pipeline.
0.1.5 ModuleBuild PSGallery A scaffolding framework which can be used to kic...
0.2.1 BuildMasterAutomation PSGallery The BuildMasterAutomation module is a PowerShell...
1.0.6 ExchangeBuild PSGallery Module Used to List all Exchange Server Versions...
2.0.14 Buildbox.SemVer PSGallery Buildbox.SemVer is a framework that helps you up...
2.0.14 Buildbox.Utils PSGallery This module contains a collection of cmdlets use...
0.1.81 buildbox.wawsdeploy PSGallery Buildbox.WAWSDeploy provides an easy way to publ...

The Payoff

Commands from modules installed via PowerShellGet can be executed just like any other module command.

C:\source\myproject [develop]> Get-VSSetupInstance                                             

InstanceId : a9d67b0c
DisplayName : Visual Studio Enterprise 2017
InstallationVersion : 15.0.26430.14
InstallationPath : C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio\2017\Enterprise
InstallDate : 3/13/2017 10:07:40 AM

The benefit was I found and installed functions easily through PackageManagement and PowerShellGet. I didn’t have to deal with searching all over, multiple differing websites, varying inconsistencies, downloading and extracting zip files, copying files to a modules folder, or importing them from random locations and so forth.

In future posts I’ll likely make more use of commands installed via PowerShellGet but for now I wanted to focus on the package management itself.

So that’s some basics of Package Management and PowerShellGet, or as I like to refer to it, NuGet for PowerShell. Or maybe for short, NuPow? NuGetShell? NuPowerGet? NuNewPSGet? OneNuPSGet? Naming things is hard.

2 thoughts on “PowerShellGet

  1. Chocolately NuGet Power Bar. I’ll take five….

    1. Geoff Hudik

      Haha that sounds lovely.

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