PSCX 3.2.0 Available

A new version of the PowerShell Community Extensions was released this morning on CodePlex.  PSCX 3.2.0 is also available on the PowerShell Resource Gallery Preview site which means you can use the new Install-Module command in WMF 5.0 Preview and Windows 10 Preview to install the module e.g.:

C:\PS> Install-Module Pscx -Scope CurrentUser

This new version fixes a number of reported bugs including an issue with directory listings under PowerShell v5.  The Import-VisualStudioVars command has been updated to work with Visual Studio 14 CTP.  You can now import Visual Studio environment variables based on the Visual Studio “version number” e.g. 140 for VS 14 CTP or the name/year 2010, 2012, 2013 e.g.:

C:\PS> Import-VisualStudioVars 140 -Architecture x86

Another minor feature we exposed in this release is a convenient way to convert decimal numbers to hex.  Today you do the following to convert a decimal number to hex:

C:\PS> "0x{0:X}" -f 5123123
0x4E2C33

With the update, you can do the same a bit more easily:

C:\PS> [hex]5123123
0x4e2c33

The major new addition for this release is the Edit-File command.  This command allows you to interactively open a file for editing as well as automate the editing of a file.  Here is how you would open a file for interactive editing:

C:\PS> Edit-File $profile.CurrentUserAllHosts

This starts notepad.exe by default and loads your profile.ps1 file.  You can change the text editor that is used by setting $Pscx:Preferences.TextEditor = ‘notepad2.exe’ in your profile.

However the real power of Edit-File (alias e) is that can you use it to automate editing files.  Today, this is how you would automate editing a file in PowerShell:

C:\PS> (Get-Content .\Pscx.csproj) -replace '>\s*v3.5\s*<', '>v4.5.1<' | 
           Out-File .\Pscx.csproj –Force

This works fine but has a couple of issues.  First, in order to write back to the same file PowerShell is reading from, you have to read the whole file into memory.  That is why the parentheses are around the Get-Content command.  This is no problem for most text files but if you have a huge file, it could be a problem.  The bigger issue is that Out-File by default writes the text file using Unicode encoding by default.  But this Visual Studio project file does not use Unicode encoding.  It is UTF-8 with no byte order mark or BOM.  You could certainly specify the encoding as a parameter to Out-File but that requires you to know the file’s encoding in the first place.  In addition, you may want to edit a series of files whose encoding varies.

Edit-File solves this problem by detecting the file’s encoding and using that same encoding when it writes back to the file.  Edit-File also solves the issue of editing large files by first, defaulting to “line-by-line” processing of the file.  If the file size is less than 84,000 the file is processed in memory.  If the file size is larger then a temp file is used to hold intermediate results.  These few small features make for a powerful command.  Here is the Edit-File equivalent of the previous command:

C:\PS> Edit-File .\Pscx.csproj '>\s*v3.5\s*<' '>v4.5.1<' –Force

Here are some sample usages of the Edit-File command:

# Open text editor with no file
C:\PS> Edit-File 

# Opens foo.txt in text editor for interactive editing
C:\PS> Edit-File foo.txt 

# Edits the file, replacing instances of foo with bar
C:\PS> Edit-File foo.txt -Pattern foo -Replacment bar 

# If file is readonly, makes it writeable and then replaces foo with bar
C:\PS> Edit-File foo.txt foo bar -Force 

# Same as above but regex is now case-sensitive
C:\PS> Edit-File foo.txt foo bar -CaseSensitive 

# Can take array of patterns/replacements - array sizes must match
C:\PS> Edit-File foo.txt 'foo','ba(.)' 'oof','$1ab' 

# Edit-File takes pipeline input that it can PassThru
C:\PS> GCI . -r *.txt | Edit-File -Pattern foo -Replacement bar -PassThru | 
           Copy-Item -Dest {'E:\temp' + $_.FullName.Substring(2).Replace('\','_')}

# Uses -SingleString to eliminate script between PostBuildEvent tags
C:\PS> GCI . -r *.csproj | 
           Edit-File -Pattern '(?s)(<PostBuildEvent>).*?(</PostBuildEvent)' `
                     -Replacement '$1$2' -SingleString 

# Replaces any empty line with '#--'.
C:\PS> Edit-File foo.txt '(?m)^(?=\r$)' '#--' -SingleString 

One note on the SingleString parameter used in the last two examples above.  Using this parameter causes the whole file to be read into memory as a single string.  Therefore, you may not want to use this parameter on huge (GB) text files.  However, what this parameter enables is the Multiline and Singleline regular expression modes.  This is crucial if your regular expression needs to span multiple lines.

The rest of the changes are outlined in the release notes.  This is the first release of Edit-File so there may be issues.  If you run into any, please file them on the PSCX CodePlex site.  Thanks for using PSCX and enjoy!

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4 Responses to PSCX 3.2.0 Available

  1. Matt says:

    I’ve downloaded and installed PSCX 3.2.0. Now what? Does it work automatically when I run PowerShell? What new commands and features are available? I don’t see anything for it in my Windows start menu. I checked the web site’s FAQ but it hasn’t been updated in almost six years. The documentation web page doesn’t have anything useful on it. I clicked on the link on that page that reads “Pscx 3.0” and it took me to a page that said “The specified release was not found.”

    Is there a how-to for using this tool?

    • rkeithhill says:

      PowerShell is supposed to automatically import modules for you when you use their commands however I prefer to put this in my Profile.ps1 file:


      Import-Module Pscx

      Note that there is an oddity with the PSCX install where the change it makes to the environment variable PSModulePath isn’t picked up by PowerShell until you restart your PC.

      As for what you can do with PSCX, look at the man topic e.g.

      man about_PSCX

      PS. To exit the “less” paging utility, press the ‘q’ key.

  2. Pingback: Creating a PowerShell Command that Process Paths using Visual Studio Code | Keith Hill's Blog

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