TLDR: Check out the very early beta of my new PowerShell Pro Tools for VS 2017 that contains a PowerShell form designer. Available on the Marketplace.

I have been working on PowerShell Tools for Visual Studio, formerly PowerGUI VSX, for almost 7 years. My first checkin to CodePlex (RIP), was on June 12, 2010.

A lot of the code base for PoshTools has actually remained the same while a much larger part has evolved over time. I had a team at Microsoft help me out for a summer and am still working with some of the folks to this day.

Over the past few months, I’ve been traveling a lot and for even a longer time, I’ve been pretty burnt out on PoshTools. Working with the Visual Studio SDK is an absolute time suck. With the 2017 version they completely changed the installation. I was pretty much like:

Over the last few weeks I started to realized how much people really rely on this extension. The 2015 version alone gets about 1000 downloads a day.

Overall, it has achieved over 550k downloads to date.

After releasing the 2017 version (officially…sorry) today, it received nearly 10k downloads. The total downloads for PoshTools across all versions are nearing 1 million. That’s a lot of people using my stuff. After realizing how important this is to a lot of people I found a little spark that I hadn’t had for the project in quiet awhile. Some folks at Microsoft and I managed to fix the upgrade problems and correct the forward link in VS when you don’t have the extension installed.

Introducing PowerShell Pro Tools for Visual Studio

It’s nice working on open source software. I love the feedback from the community and the occasional contributions I receive. I would like to continue to work on the project without feeling like I’m working for Microsoft for free. Because of this I am introducing the PowerShell Pro Tools for Visual Studio.

This is very much an experiment.

It will be a collection of enhancements to PoshTools, via a separate extension. These features will be for mainly power users seeking functionality that isn’t found in the out of the box extension.

The extension will not be open source and will cost a small amount per license.

What about PoshTools? Are you giving up?

No. Much the opposite. I want to be able to contribute more to PoshTools and will be able to fix bugs and add features to the toolset. The pro tools will bring out new features and drive forward the evolution of PoshTools. I will continue to add features to PoshTools that make sense and add other features to the pro tools where that makes sense. Features of the pro tools will require fixes and changes to PoshTools. I want it to jive together to a better ecosystem overall with a bit more job satisfaction on my end.

What kinds of things are you targeting for this extension? 

Forms designer. WPF designer. Advanced profiling. P\Invoke utilities. Executable packaging. PowerShell gallery deployment. Not the everyday user stuff but stuff I find interesting and other power users might too.

What kinds of things do you see going into PoshTools? 

Use of the Common Project System. Adopting the PowerShell Editor Services. Code formatting. Script signing. MSBuild integration.

Why charge for it and instead just add it to PoshTools?

I’m not a Microsoft employee and I’m not willing to work for them for free. When your extension is included with the installer, there is a lot of pressure to do a lot of work you aren’t being paid for. Not very motivating.

The PowerShell Form Designer

A lot of people have been asking me about the form designer for Visual Studio. I released a video a long while ago about this.

As of right now, you can download a free, early beta of the pro tools that includes this functionality. Give a try. Give me some feedback.

When will pro tools be released? 

I’m not ready to give that answer. I’d like to see how my experiment goes. I have a very busy few months. I’m the best man in two weddings, the PowerShell summit is this weekend, I’m traveling to the UK, Switzerland, Germany, Iceland and Italy and am fluctuating between part and full time work.

Who knows, all this functionality might just end up in PoshTools after all. 😉