Ever wonder what it’s like to attend PowerShell Summit? Attendee Tommy Maynard blogged about his entire experience – including the build-up anticipation prior to the event – and it’s a great set of reads. Check it out.
We offered our first in-person, proctored VERIFIED EFFECTIVE exam at PowerShell Summit in April 2015, located in Charlotte, NC. While the exam is not intended as a diagnostic or learning tool, there are definitely some observations I can share from glancing through some of the submissions so far.
First, the exam isn’t easy. 31 people signed up to take it (our room capacity; more would have if we’d had space), and only 12 turned in submissions. Of those, fewer than 5 are probably going to pass by the end of the grading process.
- If you don’t know what [CmdletBinding(SupportsShouldProcess=$True)] does, then you shouldn’t be using it. It should never be used in a cmdlet that merely queries information and doesn’t make changes to the system. It isn’t boilerplate that should be included in every function, and it has nothing to do with the PROCESS script block.
- If you don’t understand ValueFromPipeline and ValueFromPipelineByPropertyName, then you need to learn.
- If you’re using aliases like % in a function, you’re not creating a readable, maintainable script. Avoid aliases, especially ones that don’t immediately communicate the task being completed. Dir might be acceptable; ? not so much.
- If you’re not neatly indenting your constructs, your script is not going to be readable.
- Creating a parameter that accepts a limited set of values (say, “foo” and “bar”) doesn’t create internal variables with those names (e.g., $foo and $bar). Don’t confuse parameter names with their values.
In the end analysis, there’s a difference between being able to hack out a working script, and being able to create a professional, maintainable tool that complies with PowerShell’s native practices and patterns. If you’re to the point where you’re able to hack out a working script, take a next step by reading something like The Community Book of PowerShell Practices (available for free), or solidify your skills and understanding through a book like (gratuitous plug) Learn PowerShell Toolmaking in a Month of Lunches.
Most of the non-passing submissions we’re seeing have simple mistakes – for example, including a static computer name in a verbose message, rather than inserting the name of the currently-processing computer. Or creating a CIMSession, but then not using it (forcing a later command to spin up a second session). In other instances, we saw poor practices (like globally and unnecessarily setting $ErrorActionPreference, suggesting a lack of understanding about the more specific -ErrorAction). There was also a few instances where a lack of attention to details – or perhaps simply running out of time – was a problem, such as failing to define a needed parameter, or defining a ValidateSet() with incorrect values.
We’re going to be removing one of our VERIFIED EFFECTIVE exam scenarios from production use, and turning that into an “example scenario” that you can use to self-assess your toolmaking skills. Look for that in the next few weeks. We’ll continue offering in-person proctored exams at PowerShell Summit, with Europe 2015 in Stockholm being our next go. In 2016, look for us to expand the program with more capacity (so more people can sit the exam), and for us to eventually offer a DSC-related exam.
In the meantime, anyone with a VERIFIED EFFECTIVE certificate has indeed completed a challenging, practical exam that shows they are definitely effective toolmakers, capable of building professional-grade tools that are consistent with PowerShell’s native use patterns. Thus far, fewer than 20 certificates have been earned.
The PowerShell community descended on Charlotte, North Carolina for the third annual PowerShell Summit – North America this week! Enthusiasts, MVPs, community leaders, and the PowerShell product team came to discuss the latest and greatest ongoings in the PowerShell world.
The festivities kicked off in downtown Charlotte at the Ri Ra Irish Pub this last Sunday. New network connections were made and old friends reunited over fine brews in the Victorian-style public house before getting a good nights’ rest before the three day summit.
Monday started off with an exciting lineup of speakers to discuss some of the hottest community topics including Desired State Configuration, automated code testing with Pester, and working with Azure. Some great announcements were made by the product team as well, including:
- The release of Windows Management Framework 5.0 on April 30th. This release will be available downlevel for Windows 7 and Server 2008.
- PowerShell Package Manager announced as the official name of OneGet.
- The release of PowerShell Tools for Visual Studio, available now for download.
A big congratulations to PowerShell MVP and PowerShell.org board member Dave Wyatt, who’s works on Pester will be making it’s way into the next build of Windows Server!
We’re announcing a venue change for PowerShell Summit Europe 2015. Although we’re very appreciative to Microsoft for offering the use of their office in Kista, our registration velocity warrants a larger venue, and gives us the opportunity for a more central location.
Dates are not changed. We will be at the Scandic Klara hotel, which is near to the HTL Kungsgaten, both of which has sleeping room available as of this writing. Both are as close as we can get to Stockholm Central station, and both are near a tram line.
We are recommending that attendees reserve sleeping rooms immediately. A government congress at the waterfront convention center has made room inventory tight. Our registration website has been updated with the additional attendee capacity.
First: Because e-mail these days is actually unreliable, what with spam filters and all, please know that we’re relying on you to keep yourself informed on Summit updates. Following the Summit category on PowerShell.org, and watching the @PSHSummit Twitter account, are the reliable means of doing so.
First: Summit Europe is happening. There was some confusion because a draft blog post from a month ago got resurrected somehow, but the Summit is on.
Second: We’re almost sold out. I think we literally have 2 or 3 seats left. There was a rush over this past weekend.
Third: We’re exploring other venues in Stockholm and Kista, which would afford us more room. I expect to have this pinned down no later than mid-May. The dates will not change, and the Kista area will probably not change. But pay attention so you’re not going to the wrong building. Watching the Summit category and @PSHSummit Twitter page is vital, especially closer-in.
Fourth: Hotel inventory in central Stockholm is dicey because there’s some giant conference at the waterfront conference center. There are rooms available just outside the central area, as well as in Kista. So long as you’re close to a tram line or Metro stop, you’re good to go – the Metro will be able to get you to whatever venue we select (we’re ensuring that).
Fifth: That is all. Have a good week :).
Registration for PowerShell Summit Europe will commence on February 27th, 2015 at roughly 12:01am server time (I believe the server is in a Pacific time Azure datacenter). We will be limited to roughly 100 attendees.
I want everyone to understand the basic rules of engagement for this. Setting up and running this event involves significant financial risk. While in this case the event venue, a Microsoft office in Kista (near Stockholm), Sweden, isn’t charging us huge fees and requiring us to commit to hotel rooms and the like, there is still risk. Most of that risk is not borne by PowerShell.org, but for the most part by myself, personally. Our speakers also commit to covering their own travel expenses (something we’re hoping to offset this year). In addition, PowerShell team members are taking time away from the product to attend, which is a huge logistical commitment because it’s such a relatively small team.
For the Europe 2014 event, we had very poor registration numbers almost until the last minute. We also had to work very hard to drum up topic submissions from European speakers. Those two facts worry us a lot, because it suggests that there isn’t a strong and engaged community interested in this event. If that’s the case, we don’t want to barge in and run the event at all. As a result, we’re going to be taking a pretty risk-averse approach this time, and I wanted to be up-front and forthright about it.
So: We’re going to evaluate the registration numbers and velocity in mid-April. By then, we need to see at least 20-30 registrations. (We usually achieve that in the first week of registrations for the North American event.) If we’re not hitting that level, then the event is subject to cancellation (and everyone will naturally get a full and complete refund).
Also know that, should we make it past that point, registration will end by August 15th 2015 or when we fill the available space, whichever comes first. In other words, last-minute registration won’t be a thing.
The success of this event depends on the European members of the overall PowerShell community. You need to help get the word out. We aren’t going to be advertising, soliciting Microsoft’s help, or other techniques. This isn’t a commercial conference; it’s being done by the community and for the community – and if the community can’t make it happen, then it won’t happen.
Our agenda will be going online shortly, and you should head to http://PowerShellSummit.org to find the registration links (after reading the introductory material, click “Europe 2015″ for details). We’ll get it all posted and ready for February 27th – it won’t be live until then. Help us get the word out. Tell co-workers. Use Twitter, Google+, and Facebook. Attend user group meetings and spread the word. We’ve got about 6 weeks to get 20-30 people signed up to make sure we’re covering base expenses and making this happen.
We’ve had to make some minor changes to the Summit agenda – the revised schedule is shown on the event web site – http://eventmgr.azurewebsites.net/event/home/PSNA15
An additional 35 seats have been opened for PowerShell Summit NA 2015, as of 10am PT 2015-01-11. This will be the final block of inventory available for the event, which will host around 140 total people.
If you click over and there are no registration options, it’s because it sold out.
Topic submissions for the PowerShell Summit Europe are still open. If you want to be considered as a speaker please submit your topic very soon.
At the moment there aren’t enough submissions to enable us to put on a quality event. The 2014 European Summit was an excellent event with many good sessions – now is the time to submit your sessions. We need your sessions.
We have a policy of accepting sessions from new speakers as well as established experts. It’s not who you are but the quality of the session that counts.
Details on how to submit session proposals are available here
Please submit your proposals soon as we can’t run the European PowerShell Summit without them! As a note, we are confirmed for Stockholm (or within a a short subway ride of Stockholm) for the timeframe indicated, although we don’t have the exact venue yet. It’s important that we get sessions lined up soon, so that we can begin general registration.
Although we have decided to discontinue the online VERIFIED EFFECTIVE exams (as outlined previously), the organization has decided to offer the exams as a live, proctored event at the PowerShell Summit North America 2015. If all goes well, this could become a regular Summit offering.
- You must be registered to attend the Summit.
- There is no additional charge to sit the exam.
- You may not already hold a valid VERIFIED EFFECTIVE certificate.
- You will be given a written assignment and 45 minutes to complete it.
- You must bring your own laptop running any version of PowerShell (v2+).
- Your laptop must be capable of running on battery for the duration of the exam.
- You may use the Internet and other online resources; you may not discuss anything with anyone else.
- You must either bring a USB flash drive to turn in your work. The drive will be returned to you immediately.
- Grading will happen overnight, and you will be notified via e-mail. If you pass, you will be able to use the VERIFIED EFFECTIVE website to download an e-certificate. We will plan to maintain the e-certificate website through at least the end of 2016.
This offering will be limited to 65 people. Although there is no charge, you will be required to pre-register to ensure we do not overcommit the room capacity. Registration information will be sent via e-mail to all registered attendees on April 1st, 2015. Registration for the exam will be first-come, first-served.
We will not be able to accommodate individuals who are not registered to attend the Summit. That policy may change in the future, but for now that’s the policy and there will be no exceptions. We have not yet made a decision about offering this for future Summit events – this is a trial, and we will gauge interest and results before making further decisions or commitments.
This exam will be the VERIFIED EFFECTIVE PowerShell Toolmaker program, in which you will be asked to write one or more advanced functions that comply with a set of specifications and exhibit a specified set of behaviors.
The day prior to the exam offering, a lunchtime briefing will be given for anyone taking the exam. During the briefing, you will receive specifics about the exam process, the grading criteria, and so on.
UPDATED: We’ve moved the date to January 11th in the below; we’ll need some additional time to get the capacity opened up, and moving a bit past the holidays was needed.
We will be opening approximately 35-40 additional spaces for PowerShell Summit N.A. 2015. This change will be made sometime in the evening of January 11th, 2015, and the additional spaces will be first-come, first-served. Registration will be via PayPal only at this stage. There will be no additional capacity released after these spaces are taken.
As of this post, PowerShell Summit North America 2015 is full, and registration has been cut off. We’re taking some time to confirm our numbers and venue capacity; if we’re able to open additional seats, that will happen in January 2015. We will allow any additional capacity to be registered until one month prior to the Summit, or until it sells out, whichever comes first. We do not maintain a waiting list; please check here and on the @PSHSummit Twitter feed for any announcements.
For those already registered, we do not have any official hotel recommendations. You’re welcome to use the Summit Forum to see where others are staying, or to arrange for carpooling or other stuff. We certainly encourage all attendees to check the Forum for Q&A and other discussion – it’s never too early to start getting involved. On the hotel front, just look for hotels in downtown Charlotte, or near Microsoft Charlotte, based on your preferences. The reason there’s no official hotel is that there are numerous business-class hotels nearby, and after a close call last year we didn’t want to take the financial risk of booking out a room block.
Our intent at this time is to book the venue to fire code capacity, which is why we may be able to open additional slots after we confirm everything. That means both venue rooms will be full at all times. You will not be permitted to stand or sit in the aisles, back of the room, or block the doorways. If the session you hoped to attend is full, you’ll need to go to the other one. Keep in mind we’re recording everything, so you won’t miss out entirely.
The last sessions on all three days will only have a single session. We’ll position the speaker in one of the two rooms, and we’ll live-stream to the other room. This is where we plan to put Jeffrey Snover’s talks, both to accommodate what has historically been high interest in his sessions, and to accommodate his total inability to do a session in only 45 minutes :). If you don’t get a chair in the “live” room, you’ll need to join from the “overflow” room.
The two rooms are actually in different buildings, separated from each other by a driveway/courtyard arrangement. We’re suggesting that you not bring your ginormous 21″ laptop, since it’ll just drag you down moving between sessions. Maybe stick with a Surface if you want to take notes and stuff. Although we’re recording everything, so… you know. Maybe just enjoy the session.
Lunches will be taken in the session rooms, with buffet setups in the hallways just outside each room.
Stay tuned for further details, and please use the Summit forum to ask questions.
The PowerShell Summit is the number one conference where PowerShell enthusiasts gather and learn from each other in fast-paced, knowledge packed presentations. PowerShell experts from all over the world including MVP’s, Guru’s, community leaders and PowerShell team members, will once again join together for a few days in Stockholm, Sweden to discuss and learn about maximizing PowerShell in the workplace. If you want to share your PowerShell expertise or story, then this is your official call to submit presentations for selection!
PowerShell Summit Europe 2015 will be held 14-16 September 2015 in Stockholm, Sweden.
Topic Areas – What we are looking for
We are looking for 45-minute presentations covering a wide aspect of PowerShell expertise. We have two main topic areas that may assist you in building an abstract.
PowerShell Internals – A deep look into the inside workings of PowerShell and practical solutions that are built from them. These presentations are typically more directed to the PowerShell development community that is building extensions and solutions relating to PowerShell.
PowerShell Features Deep Dive – These presentations are a deep look into configuring and working with PowerShell features and capabilities such as Remoting, Desired State Configuration and more. These presentations tend to be more IT Pro focused.
We are open to presentations across the entire ecosystem that has been built around PowerShell; so don’t hesitate to send an abstract for your particular area of expertise. This includes Microsoft platforms and products that have PowerShell-based management tools as well as 3rd parties such as VMware. New topics will be preferred over recycling of older topics – look to see what’s new in PowerShell 5.0 and use the questions on PowerShell.org to spot areas of confusion that could supply a good session for the Summit.
What kind of sessions get selected?
We’re looking for sessions that go beyond – often way beyond – “beginner.” If you want to see examples of the depth we’re looking for use the recordings on the PowerShell.org Youtube channel from the PowerShell Summit Europe 2014 as a guide. We look for an abstract that’s compelling and makes us salivate to see your session – so spend time writing a punchy abstract! We want sessions that offer real-world usability combined with “wow, nobody talks about THAT” awesomeness. If in doubt aim high. Remember, Summit sessions are recorded, so if you’ve previously presented a topic at a Summit, we’re less likely to choose it for another Summit. We want sessions that are challenging, and that ideally present things that simply aren’t explained or documented elsewhere. New modules, new techniques, and crazy approaches are all welcome. Discussion-format sessions are great, too, especially if you plan to turn them into a community deliverable (like a “best practices for writing DSC Resources” session that gets turned into a free e-guide later). Think community, deep dive, engaging, and amazing as keywords. We want attendees to finish each day with information leaking… just a little bit… out their eyeballs. Help us make it happen.
We do have some goals for speaker selection, too. We obviously have, and appreciate, the great involvement we get from the product team. We aim to have a certain number of sessions from well-known members of the community, simply because they’re well-known for a reason – they do a great job! But we also set aside slots for newcomers who’ve never presented before, or who’ve maybe only presented once or twice before – the audience will judge you on content not style. We want to create opportunities for more folks to become engaged and active in our community, and the Summit is a great way to do that.
We aren’t looking for soft-skills sessions, like “how to get a new user group running,” although contact us via email (summit@) if you’d like to do something like that as an extra evening thing after the main content wraps for the day.
Please note all sessions are to be delivered in English. Presenter will provide all equipment needed to deliver session(s), including a laptop or other computer. Presenter must be able to provide video by means of HDMI, DVI-D, or DisplayPort connectors – VGA is NOT supported. Presenter must be able to manually select an appropriate screen resolution for video output. Typically, 1024×768 or 1280×720 are preferred.
How to submit abstracts of presentations
Presentations will be 45-minutes in length and the submission should include the following:
Presentation abstract – a description of the presentation and the topics covered. 250 words or less and suitable for marketing.
Go to http://eventmgr.azurewebsites.net/event/register/PSEU15/Europe%202015%20Member?preregister=1. This is the only valid URL for pre-registration. Provide your e-mail address, password, and full name. You’re creating a new account, even if you’ve attended past Summit events.
Do NOT attempt to register for the Summit as an attendee at this stage – we will be opening registration in late February 2015.
Click Submit Abstract
Provide a title and description; descriptions must be 50-250 words. Set the Status to “Ready to Review” when you are ready to send your session to us for consideration.
To return to the site at a later time, go to http://eventmgr.azurewebsites.net/event/login/PSEU15. Click Log In. You can then re-visit Abstracts.
Note that you must set your abstract status to Ready for Review or we won’t see it. If you leave it in Pending, it won’t be considered.
You can submit multiple presentations in the same topic area or for different ones. Be aware that even though the session length is 45 minutes we prefer to have at least 10 minutes set aside for questions. Summit presentations are intense and intimate often with plenty of audience interaction. You must expect questions and discussions. This is not a “lecture to the audience” event. Also because of the session length, generally co-presenters are unnecessary, but that is not a requirement.
Presentation submission deadline – When you should send it by
Start sending your presentation submissions immediately! The selection committee will start selecting presentations as soon as they arrive so you don’t want to miss out. The last day we will accept presentation submissions will be Sunday 11 January 2015. This is a hard deadline.
When you will know you’ve been selected
The selection committee will start reviewing submissions immediately and begin the selection process. You will be informed if one or more of your presentations have been selected and sent a contract on or before Sunday 18 January 2015. You will need to return the signed contract by Wednesday 28 January 2015 otherwise another speaker may be offered the opportunity.
Speakers, with accepted sessions, will be given free admission to the event, including attendance at all official Summit activities. However, AWPP membership is not included. Speakers may not bring guests to the day sessions or evening events. We have a limited budget, and the number of speakers selected will be partially governed by that budget. Speakers are responsible for their own travel expenses, including hotel, airfare, and ground transportation.
The final agenda will be announced and posted on PowerShell.Org on, or about, Monday 2 February 2015.
We look forward to your submissions and your help in making PowerShell Summit Europe 2015 the most valuable IT/Dev conference of the year building on and surpassing the Europe 2014 Summit!
We’re often asked if we’re planning to have a PowerShell Summit in (insert name of town/country/city). The answer is, “no,” because we’re usually not planning much in advance of whatever’s currently on the table. Keep in mind – we’re all volunteers. We don’t have a ton of free time to plan 3 years out! As you’ll see in a minute, it’s a lot of work.
That said, you can play a big role in bringing the Summit to your town. How? Simply write a proposal and submit it to us. Use the “Admin” e-mail alias at PowerShell.org. Here’s what to include:
- When you’re proposing for. We typically need a proposal roughly 18 months out. The North America event is in April, and the Europe event in September, so you need to plan about a year and a half ahead of those dates.
- A description of the local PowerShell audience. Helping us understand the local business environment, how many Microsoft IT pros are employes, and whether or not there’s a local user group, all helps. The more you can do to help us reach out to the locals, the more confident we’ll be in planning an event in your area.
- A venue. This is the tough part, because we have a number of pretty strict requirements. Many commercial venues won’t talk to a smaller organization more than 6-9 months out, so in talking to a venue you’ll have to ask them to estimate pricing based on their current situation; we’ll nail down particulars closer-in if we select the venue. We don’t need you to guarantee dates; we just need an estimate of how much the venue wants to charge us.
Our venue requirements are detailed and pretty much non-negotiable.
- The venue must be near an international airport – no more than a 30-minute drive. This must be accessible by a major air carrier, such that a flight from Seattle-Tacoma could make it to the venue’s airport with no more than one connection. We have to be considerate of the product team’s time!
- The venue must be near a sufficient number of affordable, business-class hotels. We do not reserve room blocks or guarantee rooms, so if you’re talking to a hotel, they may not want to deal with you because of this.
- The venue must offer parking – although we are okay if there are parking fees.
- We must have 2 rooms capable of seating at least 50 people each. That seating can be “theater-style…”
- …but we must also have a place for at least 100 people to eat lunch. Sometimes, that means a separate room. Other times, it may mean setting the session rooms “classroom style” so people can eat in the session rooms. Switching to “classroom style” still needs to afford seating for 50 people per room, minimum.
- We prefer to buy “all-day” catering packages that include unlimited coffee, a continental breakfast (pastries), buffet lunch, and an afternoon snack. Pricing cannot exceed about $110 per person per day – and that must include taxes, service fees, gratuities, and so on.
- We prefer not to guarantee a specific number of people until very close-in. However, most commercial venues require a commitment up front. In that case, we prefer to commit to no more than 50 people – even though we want the flexibility to have more than that.
- If we’re paying top dollar for catering, we should get the venue itself for free. That’s traditional at most commercial venues. If we’re paying for the venue, then our per-person/per-day catering cost should be substantially under our limit.
- We prefer to minimize A/V expenses, but do require an HD projector, screen, and wireless lav mic in each of the two rooms. We’d need pricing on that equipment if it isn’t included in the venue pricing.
- The venue needs to have decent Internet. That doesn’t necessarily need to be included for free, but it needs to be available. We may purchase 2-4 connections for speakers to use when presenting, so knowing the pricing would be helpful.
- The venue needs to be available for at least one evening event, where we’ll likely want a cash bar and some light snacks – we expect to pay extra for the evening food, but not for the venue itself.
As you can see, it’s a tough list, and it’s a lot of work for us to find venues. That’s one reason we tend to lean toward Microsoft facilities, when they’re available, because we get the venue cheaper, the food cheaper, and so on.
You’ll also see that our pricing doesn’t leave a ton of room for error. At $110/person/day, each attendee costs us $330. With 50 attendees, there’s another $130 per person in overhead to pay for speakers’ meals. We have about another $130 per person in hard costs like insurance, equipment shipping, and logistics planning. We carve off another $150 per person to help fund PowerShell.org itself, including this website. That’s $740 per person in costs – real close to the $800 we charge, which also has to cover VERIFIED EFFECTIVE exam costs and so on. We plan our numbers around a 50-person break-even point because we’re incredibly risk-averse – we don’t want to have to make up the difference on our personal credit cards, which has almost happened in the past. As you can see, we try to keep our numbers pretty tight – which means a lot of careful planning.
So… if you want to volunteer (it’s much appreciated!) and do some local legwork, you’re more than welcome to propose your favorite town. We understand that, working 18+ months out, some of the numbers will be estimates – that’s fine. Knowing that something is roughly in the right price range is a big start.
We do have other operational criteria that can come into play, so just because you propose someplace doesn’t mean we’re guaranteeing we’ll go there – but we’ll keep it in mind, even for future years.
All of the recordings from the recent PowerShell Summit in Amsterdam are now available through the PowerShell.org channel on youtube. The playlist for the Summit is https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLfeA8kIs7Coehjg9cB6foPjBojLHYQGb_
Thank you again to the speakers, and attendees, who made for a wonderful first Summit in Europe and more thanks to the people who donated to our appeal to raise funds for the recording equipment.