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Free (beta) eBook:, History of a Community

Oct 4, 2018

Now available in "preview" is a new ebook, History of a Community. 

There's still a bit left to write, but this short (under 30 pages at the moment) ebook is designed to share some of what went into the building of, the PowerShell Summit, and so on. The goal is to help those who may become involved with the organization in the future understand some of the decisions that have been made to this point. It's also intended as a collection of "lessons learned" about building and nurturing a technology community in general, for anyone who might be interested. It digs a bit into the organization's path to being a nonprofit, as well.

Grab the book now from I suggest allowing Leanpub to email you when it's updated, as it assuredly will be.

I'd very much like your feedback. Ask questions - what about the organization and its past or future isn't currently covered? What questions does the book leave you with after you read it? What could make it more helpful, or clearer? Feel free to drop comments right here on this post, or use the book's "Email the author(s)" link on Leanpub to send an email.

The Re-Launch of the Free eBooks (now in Spanish, too!)

Jul 4, 2018

We're pleased to announce the re-launch of our Free eBook Store, now hosted exclusively on Leanpub. This re-launch includes 7 titles translated into Spanish by community contributor Alvaro Torres.

All eBooks are free, although you can also choose to pay any amount of $5 or more, which becomes a donation to The DevOps Collective, Inc. Leanpub offers a web-based reader and, if you "buy" the book, options to download in EPUB, MOBI, and PDF formats.

We used to dual-publish on Leanpub and GitBook; GitBook no longer supports ebook downloading (they're online-only, now) and Leanpub now offers a free online reader mode, so we're moving exclusively to Leanpub. Leanpub does offer a smartphone app as well, which you can use to manage your entire Leanpub library.

Don't forget that all of the books' "source" is hosted at GitHub in public open-source repositories. You're welcome to fork the repos, submit pull requests, and so on. Note that we don't provide technical support for the books at GitHub; please use the Forums for that. Further, while everyone appreciates suggestions for improving the books, what we really appreciate are community members who can fork the repo, implement their suggestions, and submit a pull request!

Please help us spread the word so more people can use these great, entirely-free resources!

Contribute to the PowerShell/DevOps Community - and Win $$$!

Thanks to some generous grants, The DevOps Collective has some spare cash - and we figured what better way to use it than to hold a contest for contributing to the community? So that’s what we’re doing. If you’ve ever thought, “yeah, someday I’ll do something to help the community,” well that day has come - and there’s $1,000 on the line! All you need to do is think of a PowerShell or DevOps related topic that you think needs explaining. Better “documentation,” so to speak. Perhaps a problem you’ve had to solve that you think others might benefit from, or an aspect of the technology that people just don’t understand. All you have to do is write an ebook on that topic, much like the many free ebooks we offer at

Here’s How it Works:

Start writing your book. We’ll provide some topic ideas below. It’s possible that more than one person will pick the same topic - and that’s fine. Different perspectives are valuable!

Complete your book by the end of November, 2016. That’s a long time off - so don’t procrastinate and put it off until the last minute! If you write about 1,500 words a month, you’ll be done in time. And that’s only 50 words per day!

ZIP up your contribution in accordance with the rules below, and send it to the “admin” email alias here at By December 2016, we’ll publish all the entries, and begin soliciting user feedback. If you submit earlier, we’ll publish earlier - so you’ll have more time to garner good feedback on your book! Books will publish to GitHub, and as the author we’ll make you a Collaborator. That means you’ll be able to make additions or corrections at any time after your book goes live.

We’ll collect reader feedback and votes for 60 days. At the end, the contribution with the top reader score will win $1,000 (for non-US participants, we will send this via PayPal and let them convert to your local currency; within the US, we’ll send a check). Everyone who has a completed book published will receive a small gift, as well as recognition.

Our top feedback recipients will also receive an introduction to a "real" book publisher, if they choose. If you enjoyed the writing progress and want to produce a "dead trees" book, you'll be well on your way.

The Rules:

1. Your book must total at least 8,000 words when completed. That’s about a dozen pages in a standard Word template, without images. You cannot submit a partial book, although you can later make expansions or corrections as needed.

2. You must write in Markdown. All files must be plain-text, with an “.md” filename extension.

3. You must include a book.txt file that lists your chapter filenames in order.

4. Chapter files must start with a top-level “# Heading” that is the chapter name.

5. Images must be in an /images subfolder, and must be included in chapters by means of a proper Markdown image insertion.

6. Code blocks must be neatly formatted, and properly set off using proper Markdown syntax.

7. Your book’s subject must be on Windows PowerShell or DevOps topics.

8. You must be willing to release your book under a Creative Commons "Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International” license, and be willing to allow readers to make a donation to the nonprofit DevOps Collective, in addition to downloading your book for free. We'll be publishing your book alongside our other ones, and treating your ebook the same way we do ours.

9. You're allowed to co-author.

10. Our main audience is English-speaking, but you're welcome to write your ebook in another language if you prefer.

Topic Ideas:

These are just some of the ebook needs we’ve run across…

  • Using Regular Expressions in PowerShell (including capture groups)
  • Building a Continuous Integration Pipeline (with whatever tools you like)
  • Working with XML Data in PowerShell (including finding values, updating data, etc)
  • Bootstrapping a DevOps Culture in Your Organization
  • Creating a Simple GUI by Using WPF

There are lots more needs. Why, just browse the forums and look for commonly asked questions - those're great ideas for an ebook!

And don't think that you need to be an expert writer. Most people prefer reading something that's less formal and more conversational - just write like you'd speak out loud. You can even write a "stream of consciousness" piece - decide to solve a problem, and then write about every hurdle and success you have along the way. Those experiential pieces can really help someone else understand "the process" better. Write something you'd like to read! Even (or especially) entry-level material is more than welcome, as there are always new people who are just getting started.

Want Help?

No problem. Over the next several weeks, we'll be posting inspirational and practical articles from published writers to help you get started, to help you keep going, and to help you make the best book you can.

Just Say Yes!

C'mon, you know you've always wanted to contribute, and now's a great time to give back to your community! Start dreaming up ideas, polish up your Markdown editor, and get started!

Your feedback wanted! New eBook Hosting for

May 9, 2016

After dealing with numerous problems from PenFlip (where our free ebooks are currently located), we've decided to try two new hosting providers: GitBook and LeanPub.

Both of these are, or can be, based on Git/GitHub, which means the Markdown text of the book will always be open-sourced and available. Both offer conversion into PDF, MOBI, and EPUB formats, so you can download whichever you want. Both enable us to update the books at any time. Both are relatively easy to use; GitBook provides a moderately better writing experience since they provide a native app that kind of hides the Git-i-ness, but it's not a huge deal. More or less the same thing could be assembled for LeanPub if we wanted.

They do their formatting slightly differently, so it's worth looking at each to see which you like better. We don't have a ton of control over their formatting, so what you see in these tests is what you get.

LeanPub offers two key differences:

  • While we can and will continue to make the books available for free, we can also suggest a purchase price, and then actually let readers set a purchase price. This would enable donations to
  • Readers who "buy" the book (even for free) can register to receive email updates when a new version is produced. This _does_ mean you have to register using an e-mail address to download any book, even if you're not paying for it. We know some people get twitchy about providing contact info.

We're going to use one of these new solutions, and we'd like your feedback. Try them both, if you can - we've converted Creating HTML Reports in PowerShell over to both so that you can do a side-by-side comparison and see how they produce their various formats. Provide any feedback in the comments, below!

The LeanPub VersionThe GitBook Version


UPDATE: At least two folks have found that they can't access GitBook from their corporate network, which is concerning. Please indicate in the comments if that's a problem for you, too.

UPDATE: We're playing with GitHub. Both GitBook and LeanPub support it, and we're thinking we may be able to publish to both locations automagically, so people can choose the one that they like best. It looks like LeanPub will only generate a "Preview" when we push to GitHub, and we have to go in and manually "Publish" that latest version, but there may be a way to automate that. Free eBook Transition

Jan 25, 2015

Over the past few weeks, Matt Penny has been busy moving our free eBooks into their new home on Penflip. Code, when available, is located in our GitHub repo, and modules will soon be available in the PowerShell Gallery for downloading via Install-Module.

Penflip is a Markdown-based editing system backed by GitHub. This means anyone can contribute corrections, additional material, and so on - which will make it easier to maintain these great books over time. You can download ebooks directly from Penflip in a variety of e-book formats. We're now focused on electronic formats, rather than traditional page-based layout, although PDF is still an available download option if you want to make a hardcopy.

The conversion from Word to Markdown was challenging and largely manual, so if you run across formatting problems (especially with code), we absolutely appreciate your help in fixing those. Simply "branch" the book, creating your own copy of the project. Make corrections, and then submit those back to the master branch. Approvals are manual, so give us a few days to review what you've done and merge it into the master.

Massive thanks to Matt for all the long hours making this conversion happen, and to the folks who've submitted cover art for the new books.

Our eBook Transition - and Your Chance to Contribute!

Jan 17, 2015

We're in the process of migrating our free ebook collection over to Penflip, an online, Git-based collaborative authoring and publishing tool. Matt Penny has taken the lead in converting our Word documents to the Markdown syntax used by Penflip, and as you can see on our ebooks page, most of the titles now have an initial version in Penflip.

One neat thing about Penflip is that anyone can register for a free account, fork one of our projects, and make their own modifications. You can then submit your changes back to the master branch, so we can incorporate your changes into the ebook. This will make it easy for everyone in the community to suggest new content, offer corrections, and so on. I encourage you to help out - right now, you may simply notice some flaws from the semi-automated and fully hellish Markdown conversion, and we'd love your assistance in correcting those.

Penflip also supports on-demand downloads of each ebook in a variety of common formats, including EPUB, PDF, and more. That means you'll always be able to grab the latest version of your favorite ebook. We've not yet migrated the source code that goes with some of the ebooks; the plan is to move those into our GitHub repo over the next week.

Penflip will be enabling the next generation of our ebooks, including a massive new DSC title I plan to begin working on in 2015.

Thanks for any help you can provide, and I hope you continue to find the ebooks helpful!

eBook Cover Contest

Jan 6, 2015

Fancy yourself a graphics person? Just like to doodle?

We're holding a contest to create new covers for our various ebooks. Winners will receive absolutely nothing, other than a cover credit within the text (hey, we'll also give you a full set of the ebooks for free, what the heck).

  • Covers must include the book title, and should include the logo. The logo is below.
  • Don't include author names in the artwork. Authors are credit on the book's "About" page.
  • Images must be 8.5" wide by 11" high, preferably at 300dpi, in PNG or JPG format (see these specifications if you need that sizing in pixels).
  • Don't include art, photos, or any other elements that you yanked off the Internet, including Microsoft imagery, unless you can provide us with written permission from the copyright holder to use it.

You can submit a series for all the books, or just covers for the book or books you like best.

Be serious. Have fun. Whatever! Send submissions via e-mail to Admin, right here at We'll let you submit until the end of January 2015, and we'll pick the best selections we have at the time.


Massive Update to All Seven Free eBooks at

Apr 7, 2014

We've just finished a massive re-do of all 7 free ebooks.

First, they're now hosted in a public OneDrive folder. This means you can quickly and easily view them online, download a DOCX, or download a PDF. Anytime, anywhere.

Second, we've had folks go through and make the formatting more consistent, using a more modern font and somewhat "airier" spacing. Hopefully that translates to "nicer to read." All the original code is also accessible, and available for one-click downloading. Note that .PS1 files may open for viewing; you need to checkmark the file to download it.

Uploads are now proceeding, so depending on when you read this, some files might still be in progress. The GitHub versions (which were problematic for some folks to download) will be removed shortly. Please update your links; has already been updated.


Free eBook from Microsoft's Scripting Guy: Windows PowerShell Networking Guide

Ed Wilson, Microsoft's Scripting Guy, has created a free ebook, Windows PowerShell Networking Guide. It's designed to provide a super-quick PowerShell crash course, and then show you how to  manage various networking scenarios by using the shell.

And it's free! Just click the link to get your copy - and please, tell a friend!


Error Handling draft available

Feb 1, 2014

There was quite a bit of interest in the upcoming free Error Handling ebook during the PowerScripting Podcast on Thursday. It's still in a very early draft form, but I've posted it to the GitHub repository for anyone who wants to brave the unedited waters and get a preview of the content.

Feedback is welcome, particularly on the technical content. Don't worry about the presentation / organization so much, as those are likely to change once we go through a review and edit process anyway. You can post comments on GitHub, or contact me directly at

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