PowerCLI SketchPad – Write PowerShell Code for vSphere Automation Easily and Quickly with Zero Installation

While writing code or automation scripts, I usually spend quite some time to research the APIs and command syntax. To speed up the research, I normally skip the detailed description of all parameters and jump to the sample code or scripts directly. If any sample is, or close to, what what I want, I will use it as a starting point and modify it from there. Like any other engineering work, having something to start with is definitely easier and faster than starting from scratch.

Lost VMs or Containers? Too Many Consoles? Too Slow GUI? Time to learn how to "Google" and manage your VMware and clouds in a fast and secure HTML5 App.

Can we get these samples built into the IDE or editors? Yes. Over the years, quite some IDEs have included the feature called code snippet. As you have guessed, the key success factor is not the feature itself, but the content. Don’t get me wrong – the feature implementation is also important but that is pretty much a one time thing. Think about an Internet of a few Web pages, would you use Google? Probably not despite the fact that it’s a super powerful engine.

After finishing the vSearch 3.2, I finally got a bit time over this past weekend to work on this open source project called PowerCLI SketchPad – which is an online editor with built-in code snippets. With the SketchPad, you can quickly write a working PowerCLI script just as you see from the YouTube video above (26 seconds). Note that although it’s running in browser, your code will neither be sent back to server, nor be shared with anyone else.

You may be wonder why it’s PowerCLI not others?

We picked PowerCLI as it’s the most widely used script by VMware administrators for automation. This is the starting point of other similar code sharing editors for PyVmomi (Python binding for vSphere), RbVmomi (Ruby binding for vSphere), etc.

Please feel free to give it a quick try and contribute some code snippet for the community.

Writing a code snippet is VERY simple. You just need to send us the following:

{
  label: 'dc-vm-start',
  insertText: `Get-VM -Name {{vm-name}} | Start-VM {{-Confirm:$False}} {{-RunAsync:$True}}`,
  documentation: 'Create a new virtual machine - by @sjin2008'
}

You can use Git to submit code or simply use this issue tracker to submit it as described on the project home.

Please feel free to share the tool and more people can benefit and share.

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15 Comments

  1. Posted December 19, 2016 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

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  2. Posted December 19, 2016 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

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  3. Posted December 20, 2016 at 4:45 am | Permalink

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    My company has created products like vSearch ("Super vCenter"), vijavaNG APIs, EAM APIs, ICE tool. We also help clients with virtualization and cloud computing on customized development, training. Should you, or someone you know, need these products and services, please feel free to contact me: steve __AT__ doublecloud.org.

    Me: Steve Jin, VMware vExpert who authored the VMware VI and vSphere SDK by Prentice Hall, and created the de factor open source vSphere Java API while working at VMware engineering. Companies like Cisco, EMC, NetApp, HP, Dell, VMware, are among the users of the API and other tools I developed for their products, internal IT orchestration, and test automation.