Foreach vs Foreach-object

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by

2 years, 2 months ago.

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  • #61020

    Points: 1
    Rank: Member

    I encountered a weird problem with foreach loop. My understanding is foreach is alias of foreach-object – which I can confirm by using get-alias command.
    However if I run the following command, I get different results with foreach & foreach-Object, below is simple conde what I have tried, can someone explain why there is a difference in behaviour, is it a bug or expected behaviour?

    $list = "A", "B", "C", "D"

    PS C:\> ForEach ($item in $list) {$item}
    PS C:\> ForEach-Object ($item in $list) {$item}
    At line:1 char:23
    + ForEach-Object ($item in $list) {$item}
    + ~~
    Unexpected token 'in' in expression or statement.
    At line:1 char:22
    + ForEach-Object ($item in $list) {$item}
    + ~
    Missing closing ')' in expression.
    At line:1 char:31
    + ForEach-Object ($item in $list) {$item}
    + ~
    Unexpected token ')' in expression or statement.
    + CategoryInfo : ParserError: (:) [], ParentContainsErrorRecordException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : UnexpectedToken

  • #61024

    Points: 15
    Rank: Member

    You are partially right and partially wrong 🙂

    "Foreach" are just 7 letters that PowerShell will have to parse in two different ways, depending on the context.

    1. As you correctly mentioned, they could be an alias for a Cmdlet called Foreach-Object. Other alias is %, but you've already found them with Get-Alias.
    To be understood as such a cmdlet, you have to use it in a pipeline. In your example :

         $list | Foreach-Object -Process { $_ }

    This could be abbreviated with the alias and using default parameters to

         $list | Foreach { $_ }

    But I wouldn't recommend it. Do not use aliases, they could have been modified to do a different thing...

    2. "Foreach" can also be a keyword, a language structure used to enumerate any object which can be enumerated.
    The syntax is totally different (similar to foreach in C#, for example), and is NOT translated to a cmdlet.

       foreach ($element in $list) { $element }

    Notice in this case you don't use $_ but a variable you explicitly declare ($element in this example)

    Unfortunately they chose "foreach" for both the keyword and the alias, which makes things slightly difficult.

    Homework : Foreach-Object has also a -Begin and -End parameter...

  • #61042

    Points: 1
    Rank: Member

    Many thanks Ruiz, that explains the change in behaviour... Using alias as foreach for foreach-object confused me a bit

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