PowerShell.org: Where We've Been, Our New Look, Where We're Going

PowerShell.org has come a long way, both spiritually and physically, since our inception in September of 2012. Let's look at some screen grabs from the Internet Archive, and take a stroll through our history.

Before PowerShell.org

Not long after PowerShell's product launching 2006, I convinced my employer at the time, SAPIEN Technologies, as well as Quest Software, Dell, and Microsoft to help fund the launch of a new PowerShell community. Creatively named PowerShellCommunity.org, it was a DotNetNuke site, launched around 2007.

The idea was to create something central that could serve as a jumping-off point to the rest of the PowerShell community. Criticized by some for the "toilet bowl water" color scheme (it was changed to a blue version in 2009), it saw moderate success. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, it never really caught on.

Back in 2007, PowerShell.org didn't look even that nice.

That was before I acquired the PowerShell.org domain name, in fact. But after speaking with some of the PowerShell product team members, myself and the other PowerShell.org founders (including Kirk Munro, Richard Siddaway, and Jeff Hicks) knew we needed a standalone, independent entity in order to accomplish some of what we wanted. So I purchased the PowerShell.org name, and we started getting a new site ready.

An Org is Born: 2012

And so in 2012, PowerShell.org was born. As of March 2013, it had a pretty basic look. At that time, our front page led to the different, distinct applications that made up the website - primarily the forums, along with pages for the Scripting Games and PowerShell Summit. We'd moved quickly, taking on the Games and starting the Summit at the behest of Microsoft. Our little community was starting to chug along, based largely on the selfless efforts of its early volunteers. We had strong support from some early, dedicated sponsors, and we started to make an impact right away. Although there are a number of incredible PowerShell resources online, they were a bit scattered. The friendliness of Q&A forums, in particular, was pretty variable. We wanted to offer a friendly starting point in the community, and then help guide people to the other offerings that were out there.

Settling In: 2014

Yeah, we were a little rough-looking back then. But by a year later, we'd started to refine our look. Our new "metro" logo and a cleaner look went along with our integration into a single platform for everything. As you can see, we'd started to make big strides in supporting local user groups, and welcomed the PowerScripting Podcast (started in 2006) to our site. We'd finished our first PowerShell Summit, and in March 2014 were getting ready for our second one - and our first European Summit, later that year. Our dream of helping to foster community was coming true - we just had to keep plugging at it.

More Community: 2015

Fast forward a year... Now, we've got more user groups featured! More volunteers authoring articles! And we've launched our DSC Hub, providing quick access to new ebooks, a GitHub repo, and learning resources. By March 2015, we've got three PowerShell Summit events under our belts, and three Scripting Games events. We've got our first North American Summit outside Washington coming up in Charlotte, and are looking ahead to our second European Summit in Stockholm. We're welcoming 150,000 visitors a month to the site, and we've launched a series of TechSession webinars. We've got a TechLetter newsletter with a dozen issues published, and almost a dozen free ebooks authored by members of the community. Our site look hasn't changed much, but we're doing a lot more with it.

But there was still some valid criticism. The site wasn't very small-screen friendly. Posting code in the forums was a little touch-and-go. Major elements like the Summit, our free ebooks, and the incredible work done by our volunteer authors were still kind of buried.

A New Us: 2015

One last leap forward in time - about a year and 3 months, to June 2015. In other words, we're in the present, and PowerShell.org is ready to continue moving forward.

Our new look is fresher, cleaner, and more modern. We're doing more to highlight the great work being done by the community, with a formal Articles area for our volunteer writers, better exposure of the forums, and a fully-responsive theme that's small-screen friendly. Our forums have a great new code colorizer, and supports pasting of Gist snippets simply by adding the URL to the post. Forums posts can now even be marked as "resolved," to help future generations better identify answers when they come searching.

But beyond our look, I feel that we've accomplished so much in terms of fostering a true community.

  • Our volunteers take on everything from writing articles, editing the newsletter, producing ebooks, running the website, and organizing webinars. And we're always looking for more, especially writers, so chime in!
  • We've successfully produced four PowerShell Summit events globally, with a fifth on the way this September, and 2016 already in planning.
  • We're back with a new edition of the Scripting Game this summer, in what we believe will be a long-term-sustainable format that offers fun and challenge.
  • Our TechSession webinars are getting traction, and we're starting to build out a reliable monthly schedule of free educational offerings.
  • Our free ebooks have been downloaded more than 50,000 times, making them a collective set of bestsellers by any calculation.
  • We're helping support almost two dozen independent user groups by giving them a space to publish their meeting notes, meeting announcements, and other details.
  • The PowerScripting Podcast continues to draw thousands of listeners to each episode, and we're proud to offer them some space from which to do it, along with financial support.

I'm proudest of the fact that I'm not doing most of these things - you, in the community, are. You're helping answer questions in the forums, you're driving demand for the PowerShell Summit, and you're writing resources for our DSC Repository. PowerShell.org is achieving exactly what its founders always intended: providing a gathering place for community, because we know that once you all have a place to come together, you'll do amazing things.

It's been an exciting three years since we began, and I can't wait to see where you take us next.

 

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About the Author

Don Jones

Don Jones is a Windows PowerShell MVP, author of several Windows PowerShell books (and other IT books), Co-founder and President/CEO of PowerShell.org, PowerShell columnist for Microsoft TechNet Magazine, PowerShell educator, and designer/author of several Windows PowerShell courses (including Microsoft’s). Power to the shell!

2 Comments

  1. It's an amazing community Don.

    I regret myself that I didn't got involved much sooner. But now I'm hooked. I love to share what I know, and to be involved with the brighests in the IT community.

    I think that I'm right that we, the community, take our hats off for the whole team of PowerShell.org! Congrats on the new site! ( and I'm proud I am a little tiny member of it and you allow me to post articles)