Tag Archives: Winter Scripting

Closing the Games


The judging is complete for the fourth and final event in the 2014 Winter Scripting Games.
This Games was something very different in that we presented 4 we complex scenarios that were designed to be as close as possible to the type of tasks you may have to perform at work. The solutions required multi-file answers – there’s no way you could solve these with a one liner!

All of the teams that submitted entries rose to meet the hardest challenge I’ve seen in a Scripting Games – and I’ve taken part of judged all but the first Games.

All entries were scored by 2 judges with the judges being rotated to ensure that all judges scored each team in at least one event.

I’d like to thank the judges for their hard work and also thank the coaching team put together by Mike Robbins – most of all I’d like to thank all of the teams that entered for taking part.

In any Games we have winners and the winning teams from these Games are:
1.Kitton Mittons with 19.375 points (8 of 8 scores received)
2.TecHaH with 18.75 points (8 of 8 scores received)
3.Schnipersons with 18.5 points (8 of 8 scores received)

Congratulations to Kitton Mittons for winning the 2014 Winter Scripting Games – if a representative from the winning team could please contact Don Jones or myself we’ll see about getting your prizes to you .

The Games are closed. .
Until the next time.

Winter Scripting Games 2014 – Clarifications on Rules and Clarifications


As a note, because we’ve had a couple of requests, there are two things to remember about The Scripting Games.

Clarifications on Event Wording

Event authors, judges, and other officials are prohibited from providing further explanations or clarifications on the event scenarios. You’ll have to go on what’s in the document. if it isn’t clear, then they probably don’t care about it in terms of judging. Try to document – in your comment-based help – what you did and why, and cross your fingers.

The reason for this is that not everyone is reading these posts or the Scripting Games forum. Therefore, any response would not be seen by all competitors and would therefore un-level the playing field.

We’re a lot more interested in seeing you code creatively, consistently, and in accordance with best practices. So don’t sweat the little details.

Rebuttal to the Judges

Judges are not going to respond to requests like, “why did you judge our entry in such-and-such a way?” Judges’ scores are final, and cannot be changed. As in all competitions, everywhere, always, judges sometimes make a mistake or two. It happens. It’s also possible that a judge didn’t like the way in which you did something, and that’s why you lost a point or something. Regardless, we’re extremely appreciative of the judges’ time, and we’re not going to ask them to get in online arguments with people.

On the other hand, you’re more than welcome to solicit peer feedback on your entry. If the world agrees that the judge done you wrong, then you’ll regain your sacred honor and feel better. Or, perhaps peer feedback will grant you some new perspective.

PowerShell Tip from the Head Coach of the 2014 Winter Scripting Games: Design for Performance and Efficiency!


There are several concepts that come to mind when discussing the topic of designing your PowerShell commands for performance and efficiency, but in my opinion one of the items at the top of the list is “Filtering Left” which is what I’ll be covering in this blog article.

First, let’s start out by taking a look at an example of a simple one-liner command that’s poorly written from a performance and efficiency standpoint:

Click here to be redirected to the original post of this article on the author’s blog site where you can read the remainder of the article.

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Scripting Games 2014 – event submission tip


I’ve testing out the judging system using the practice event and one thing jumped out at me.

It was a lot easier to understand the entries for those teams that included a transcript of their entry.

I would very strongly recommend that you include a transcript of your entry running. As a minimum I would recommend that you include:
– the solution running – show each type of input required by the scenario (pipeline, single values, file etc)
– if parameter validation is asked for – show that in action
– show error handling in action if you can
– show the partial contents of any output file

Transcripts make for happy judges. You want your judges to be happy don’t you…

PowerShell Tip #3 from the Winner of the Advanced Category in the 2013 Scripting Games


In my previous blog article (PowerShell Tip #2), I left off with the subject of inline help and stated there was a better way. I’m fast-forwarding through lots of concepts and jumping right into “Advanced Functions and Scripts” with this tip because they are where you’ll find the answer to a “better way” to add inline help.

Click here to be redirected to the original post of this article on the author’s blog site where you can read the remainder of the article.

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Winter Scripting Games 2014


PowerShell-Scripting-Games-Logo

If you’re looking to learn or improve on existing skills as part of a new year goal and one of those in PowerShell, then you may find it useful to check out the Winter Scripting Games 2014. When you are looking to improve your scripting skills it can sometimes be tricky if you don’t have a practical problem to solve. By taking part in these games you will have a number of opportunities to apply your skills to real problems.

Click here to be redirected to the original post of this article on the author’s blog site where you can read the remainder of the article.

PowerShell Tip #2 from the Winner of the Advanced Category in the 2013 Scripting Games


Tip #2 – Comment (Document) your code!

This is another one of those tips that probably isn’t very popular, but regardless of how good you are at writing PowerShell scripts and functions, they’re useless if no one else can figure out how to use them. You might be thinking that you’re the only one who uses the PowerShell code that you write, but I’m sure that you like to go on vacation just like the rest of us and none of us are going to live forever.

In my tip #1 blog you learned that you need to “Read the Help!”. This tip builds on the first one because it allows others to “Read the Help!” for the PowerShell code that you write.

The type of help that you want to provide for your PowerShell functions and scripts is “Comment Based Help”. Click here to be redirected to the original post of this article on the author’s blog site where you can read the remainder of the article.

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PowerShell Tip #1 from the Winner of the Advanced Category in the 2013 Scripting Games


In case you haven’t heard, the 2014 Winter Scripting Games are just now getting started. Regardless of your skill level with PowerShell, it couldn’t be a better time to participate since this is the first time in the history of the scripting games that you’ll be able to work as part of a team and receive proactive feedback (before your code is judged) from a team of expert coaches who use PowerShell in the real world on a daily basis. Ultimately, the scripting games make learning PowerShell more interesting and challenging while giving you the opportunity to network with other enthusiasts in the industry.

Now it’s time to talk about a PowerShell tip that I wanted to share.

Tip #1 – Read the Help!

While this may not be the most popular tip, believe it or not, it’s one of the most important and it’s something that’s so simple it’s often times overlooked. In my opinion, you’ll never truly be effective with PowerShell and be able to figure things out for yourself until you learn to read the help.

Click here to be redirected to the original post of this article on the author’s blog site where you can read the remainder of the article.

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Introducing the Judges for Winter 2014 Scripting Games


In the last few years there has been a long list of people judging the Scripting Games. Those people were expected to view as many entries as possible, preferably all, and score the entries as well as providing feedback on the individual entries. That is a ton of work especially when you consider that the judges were all volunteers.

This time round we’re attempting to spread the load somewhat. Mike Robbins has done a superb job recruiting coaches for the Its their job to look at the entries and make suggestions and hints to the teams – if the teams wish to take advantage of this option. Looking at the list of coaches – I know I would take advantage of their assistance if I was competing.

That leaves judging. This time we’re using a small group of judges. We have prepared scoring criteria for the events with some additional style points available to the judges. This will make MOST of the scoring objective but we’ve a bit of subjectivity available for individual judges to pick out, and hopefully comment on, things they like or don’t like.

The judges are all very experienced PowerShell practitioners with more books written, talks given, blog posts created and classes taught between them than anyone would want to count. In alphabetical order your judges for the Winter 2014 Scripting Games are:

Don Jones – founder and CEO of powershell.org. Author of several PowerShell books including the highly recommended Learn PowerShell v3 in a Month of Lunches and co-author of PowerShell in Depth. Don is a PowerShell MVP, PowerShell educator, columnist and course creator.

Jason Helmick – Board member of powershell.org. A PowerShell MVP and author of Learn IIS in a Month of Lunches which includes lots of PowerShell. Jason also delivered the recent two-part Introducing PowerShell MVA sessions with Jeffrey Snover. PowerShell educator, columnist and speaker.

Jeffery Hicks – Board member of powershell.org. PowerShell MVP. Co-author of PowerShell in Depth, lead editor of PowerShell Deep Dives and author of other PowerShell books. Jeffrey is also a PowerShell columnist and educator

Ed Wilson – The Scripting Guy. Ed runs the Hey! Scripting Guy Author of several PowerShell books including Windows PowerShell Best Practices and Windows PowerShell Scripting Guide. Ed also delivers PowerShell classes and is a much in demand speaker.

The list of judges is completed by
Richard Siddaway – Board member of powershell.org. PowerShell MVP. Co-author of PowerShell in Depth and author of PowerShell in Practice and PowerShell and WMI. Frequent blogger on PowerShell related topics.

Between them the judges have accumulated over 30 years of PowerShell experience that is focussed on judging the Games. They are all looking forward to the Games and hope to see your entries.

January Charlotte PowerShell User Group Meeting


Our monthly meeting will be held on January 2nd, 2014. This years Scripting Games is a team based event. What better place to find/join a team than a User Group meeting? We look forward to seeing you there.

Here is some additional information about the Winter Scripting Games:

Teams can consist of between 2 to 6 Scripters and official registration opens on Jan 2nd.

There will be a total of 4 official events for the Winter Scripting Games:

January 19th, January 26th, February 2nd, & February 9th

Check out the schedule for all the details. In addition, be sure to follow the #pshgames hashtag on twitter. There is also a list of Coaches who are blogging and tweeting helpful info and tips including this excellent preparation guide. Lastly, before you head over to the scripting games website be sure to read this Important Scripting Games Login and Operational Information post.

Philadelphia Meeting – January 9th 2014


Join us Thursday, Jan 9th for a Getting Ready for the 2014 Winter Scripting Games meeting including a presentation by Lido Paglia on a PowerShell Beginner’s Guide to using GitHub. We’ll be covering how to participate and get the most out of the Winter Scripting Games. So come out and team up with fellow PhillyPoSH members for some Winter PowerShell Scripting fun!

Also, PhillyPoSH members interested in participating in the Winter Scripting Games should get in touch via email info at phillyposh.org or twitter @phillyposh NOW to get started on setting up teams. The Winter Scripting Games is a team event and we’ll be assisting members in participating by forming teams and providing general guidance.

Winter Scripting Games Details

Teams can consist of between 2 to 6 Scripters and official registration opens on Jan 2nd.

There will be a total of 4 official events for the Winter Scripting Games:

January 19th, January 26th, February 2nd, & February 9th

Check out the schedule for all the details. In addition, be sure to follow the #pshgames hashtag on twitter. There is also a list of Coaches who are blogging and tweeting helpful info and tips including this excellent preparation guide. Lastly, before you head over to the scripting games website be sure to read this Important Scripting Games Login and Operational Information post.

Please register if you plan to attend in person or online. The meeting URL to join us remotely will be included in your Eventbrite registration confirmation.

Introducing the Coaches of the 2014 Winter Scripting Games


A few weeks ago, just before the announcement to start recruiting your team for the 2014 Winter Scripting Games, I was contacted by Don Jones and Richard Siddaway about an opportunity to become the Head Coach for the Winter Scripting Games. I was honored to have been contacted and I’m a firm believer of taking advantage of opportunities when they emerge, especially when they’re PowerShell related, so I graciously accepted.

One of my first responsibilities was to recruit a small team of coaches. I immediately went to work before potential coaches committed themselves to participating on teams. We had a huge number of people in the PowerShell community who had volunteered to be a coach and while we would have liked to have selected everyone who volunteered, we only had a specific number of positions to fill. Without further ado, here is the list of the coaches for the 2014 Winter Scripting Games:

Name Twitter
Boe Prox @proxb
Carlo Mancini @sysadm2010
Claus Nielsen @claustn
Emin Atac @p0w3rsh3ll
Jan Egil Ring @JanEgilRing
Jeff Wouters @JeffWouters
Jonathan Medd @jonathanmedd
Lido Paglia @nicemarmot
Matt Hitchcock @hitchysg
Rob Campbell @mjolinor
Rohn Edwards @magicrohn
Sahal Omer @GetExchange
Steve Murawski @StevenMurawski

Click here to be redirected to the original post of this article on the author’s blog site where you can read the remainder of the article.

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2014 Winter Scripting Games: Team Formation Tips


As you should know by now, the 2014 Winter Scripting Games will be a team event. That means the events are more complex than in the past, and will require the efforts of 2-6 person teams.

The Scripting Games Web site gives you the option to:

  • Auto-join a team. You’ll be put on a team whose members are as geographically close to you (by time zone) as possible, to facilitate collaboration.
  • Join a team of your choice. You’ll be shown the average team member timezone offset, so that you can select a team whose members are on roughly the same schedule as you.
  • Create a team. You’ll be able to invite people to join your team, using whatever social media or communications you prefer (that’s done on your own; the system doesn’t do it for you).

Once your team is assembled and an event begins, you’ll be able to use the Scripting Games Web site to meet your team members and exchange e-mail addresses; each event features a team discussion thread that you can use for this purpose.

It’s possible to participate in the Games using nothing more than the Scripting Games Web site. The system allows multiple-file submissions, and allows you and your team to add, delete, and revise files at any time (up to the entry deadline, of course). A private chat thread (which will also be used by Coaches) lets you collaborate.

However, the Web site’s collaboration is deliberately primitive. We encourage teams to make use of the far superior collaboration tools elsewhere: GitHub, PoshCode.org, IRC, e-mail, TFS, Google Docs, SkyDrive, DropBox, SharePoint and more are all options. Your team will decide how you want to handle things.

TIP: Make sure you’re periodically (like, daily) dropping your team’s latest efforts into the Scripting Games Web site. That way, our Coaches can see what you’re up to and offer commentary.

We encourage you to start talking to potential teammates NOW, so that you can have a plan put together ahead of time. That will enable you to jump right into the first event and be successful.

Don’t know anyone to be on a team with? Start using social media! Twitter is a great option; we suggest using hashtag #PowerShell as well as #PshGames to recruit team members. You can have pre-Games discussions in the Scripting Games Forum right here on PowerShell.org, too, or communicate via e-mail, Twitter, or whatever you like. Remember, you must have at least a 2-person team in order to participate!

Coaches and Judges Selected for Winter Scripting Games


We’ve had an outpouring of support for the upcoming games, with more volunteers than we know what to do with!

At this point, we have our judging panel completely full; we’re operating with a fairly small group of celebrity judges this time around. Games Master Richard Siddaway will introduce our judges in a few days.

We’ve also filled our roster of Coaches, and Head Coach Mike Robbins will provide that lineup soon also.

If you’ve volunteered but not heard from Richard or Mike, then you should definitely start recruiting a team for when registration and team formation opens in a couple of weeks!

2014 Winter Scripting Games Schedule


Registration and team formation for the 2014 Winter Scripting Games will begin on January 2nd, 2014. At that time, you’ll be able to access the Scripting Games Web site, sign in, and join or form a team. We encourage participants to get their teams in order before the start of the first event; after the event starts, new team members won’t be able to participate until the end of that event and the start of the next.

We will have a practice event beginning January 6th, 2014 (instructions will be posted on January 1st). This will be treated as a normal event in all respects, except that there will be no judging. This is a chance for us to shake out any remaining bugs in the system. Bugs can be reported in the Scripting Games forum; however, we will not be accepting suggestions related to the format, timing, or other elements of the event. “Bug” means “something is technically broken,” not “I don’t like this.”

We encourage you to monitor the Scripting Games Announcements category for official news and announcements.

The first event will begin at 1:00am UTC on January 19th, 2014. Submissions are due before 1:00am UTC on January 26th, 2014, which is when the second event will start. There will be four events total, starting on Jan 19, Jan 26, Feb 2, and Feb 9. Each event will run for exactly 7 days, by which time your team’s submission must be in the system. Judging will take place for several days after each event closes. The Scripting Games Web site will have details about each event’s exact schedule. Note that all times will be shown in UTC. It is up to you to translate. 

Note that instructions for each event will be available about 24 hours prior to the actual event start, meaning you get about 24 hours to think about what you’re doing before you can start uploading code. The Games Web site will clearly list all dates and times (again, in UTC).

2013 winner Mike Robbins will be acting as Head Coach, and will be recruiting and managing several other expert Coaches. Coaches will drop by from time to time while the event is in progress. If your team has put your current work into the system, the Coaches will review it and offer expert commentary. Coaches will not be assigning scores, and their comments will not be reviewed as part of your team score – their comments are primarily to help you. Coaches are also welcome to blog about what they see, to help offer advice to the broader community.

MVP Richard Siddaway will be acting as Head Judge, and has selected a panel of other expert judges that includes MVPs Don Jones, Jeffery Hicks, and Jason Helmick, along with Microsoft Scripting Guy Ed Wilson. Judges will not look at your entries until after the event closes; at that time, each judge will complete a detailed score card for your entry. Judge scorecards will be averaged to compute your team’s score for the event. Scorecards consist of more than one dozen criteria, each of which is communicated to you in the event scenario. Judges may or may not offer commentary along with their scorecards; it depends a bit on the volume of entries we receive.

Good luck!