Sitecore PowerShell speeding up development
Technology
Sitecore DevOps Development

What Is Sitecore PowerShell?

May 13, 2021
Oshyn Labs

We live in a fast-paced and technology-driven world where automation is becoming the key to success. There are hardly any industries in this period of agility that have not gone digital in the past two decades.

In the CMS industry, applications that can expedite workflows and help manage content without additional hassle are the most in-demand technologies today and often turn out to be the most widely used ones as well.

As one of the leading CMS platforms on the market, Sitecore has been helping organizations around the world create, manage, and deliver content at scale across several devices. With the help of automation tools, developers who work with the Sitecore platform can streamline their operations and eliminate some mundane tasks that slow them down.

In this article, we will discuss one such automation tool, Sitecore PowerShell, the benefits it offers, and explain how it can be used to streamline work and increase productivity.

What is PowerShell?

PowerShell is a task automation tool available for Microsoft Windows that includes a command-line shell, scripting language and configuration management framework.

Along with features like command prediction and chaining commands, it also enables users to automate Microsoft and .NET-based products, such as Microsoft Azure components and Microsoft 365 licenses. Essentially, PowerShell is intended to be the go-to solution for simplifying processes by automating mundane tasks.

What is Sitecore PowerShell?

Sitecore PowerShell Extensions (SPE) is a development accelerator that increases productivity and decreases the time required to deliver a Sitecore solution. A command-line interface (CLI) and scripting environment are used for automating tasks, and commands and scripts follow the same standard as the Windows PowerShell syntax.

SPE is capable of making native calls to the Sitecore API and manipulating files. It can also help streamline making changes to many pages, help you get statistics on item fields, and discover information such as the oldest page on your website.

Sitecore offers multiple add-ons and enhancements to the content management solution that extend the capabilities and make the system more usable for marketers and developers. With Sitecore PowerShell, the power of automation is added to those capabilities.

By installing SPE, you’ll get access to three tools:

  • PowerShell Console: For advanced programmers, the console tool works almost like the command-line in Windows, where individual commands can be executed.
  • PowerShell ISE: PowerShell ISE sits one layer above the console, providing functionality like script debugging, breakpoints, and so forth, enabling programmers to create functional PowerShell scripts.
  • PowerShell Toolbox: Handles Task Manager, Session Manager, and similar functionality.

Sitecore PowerShell Features & Functionality

Scripting

The module features a rich scripting environment, termed the Integrated Scripting Environment (ISE), where users can create and group commands together. The ISE can execute commands and has features such as ‘Context’ that help specify the path of an item in a particular script. The ISE can be further connected with plugins that add specific behaviors, such as invoking SQL commands or creating libraries.

This option is the primary offering of the ISE, and other options help branch out its abilities. It supports personalization, such as the UI language and the context user.

Integration Points

Sitecore PowerShell also provides pre-coded libraries filled with a collection of scripts. These libraries help with connecting to the Sitecore interface and controlling its functions. These particular libraries are termed ‘Integration Points’ and include Content Editor, Event Handler, Pipelines, Reports and Web API.

  • Content Editor: The content editor includes a set of visual components that can be made available to the user.
  • Data Sources: Enable a script to execute complex queries.
  • Event Handler: Executes scripts as soon as a predefined event happens.
  • Pipelines: Enables a user to gain access to arguments passed to the processor.
  • Reports: Out of the box reports that provide information about a Sitecore installation.
  • Web API: Makes it possible to run a script through a URL

Remotely Running Scripts

Sitecore PowerShell also offers the ability to run scripts from a provided URL remotely. This is made possible by the “Remoting Automation Service”, which uses a SOAP service and an HTTP handler. It also supports the execution of long scripts without facing timeouts, along with a service to download files and items from the server.

Security

With using a powerful tool like Sitecore PowerShell, which also features the option of connecting remotely, there needs to be a robust security system in place. In the case of this module, there are quite a few security features in place, such as the option to strengthen security measures like allowing or revoking specific user’s permissions. The web services that make remoting possible are also disabled by default and need to be overridden.

Sitecore PowerShell Use Cases

Sitecore PowerShell can help with automating several tasks and performing bulk actions, but some of the most popular use cases include:

Custom Reports

Sitecore PowerShell can be used for data collection. However, after that data is collected, it can also be presented in a custom report and exported into various formats.

Content Cleanup or Re-arranging Scripts

When working with websites with thousands of pages that need to be rearranged, Sitecore PowerShell can be used to remove the rendering of multiple items so that it doesn’t need to be done manually.

Repetitive Content Tasks

PowerShell can be used in a situation where you need to unpublish items at once or need to optimize several images in an existing Sitecore instance, saving you plenty of time.

Updating Workflows

In some situations, you might not have the correct workflow assigned to all items, need to assign a new workflow to several items, or remove a workflow from several items at once. A PowerShell script can be used to streamline these updates.

Getting Started with Sitecore PowerShell

Sitecore PowerShell is an enormously helpful and powerful tool that makes an already efficient content management system even better by automating several of its primary functions, saving the developers that work in the system plenty of time.

If you’re a developer working with Sitecore, you can also create custom scripts that your marketers can use to streamline some of their tasks without having to touch the PowerShell interface. However, if you’re still unsure about Sitecore PowerShell and need help developing the best scripts to save your business time, support is available.

To get started today, download Sitecore PowerShell from Sitecore Marketplace. Once installed, you’ll notice additional menu options on your desktop, allowing you to access PowerShell Console.

If you need assistance getting the most out of Sitecore PowerShell, we at Oshyn are more than equipped to help. As a certified Sitecore Partner, we’ve worked with many companies, including Volkswagen and Dole, to get programmers up to speed with Sitecore PowerShell, and Sitecore in general.

Looking for a certified Sitecore partner? Read How To Choose the Right Sitecore Partner.

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