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PowerShell Tools for Visual Studio Supports Remote Sessions, DSC and Workflows

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PowerShell Tools for Visual Studio is a Visual Studio extension that brings the power of Visual Studio to PowerShell developers. Adam Driscoll, the original creator of this extension, got help from Microsoft over the past couple of months. The result is a new release, v3.0.108, offering 64-bit and remote session support, among other improvements.

PowerShell Tools offers many of the features that developers expect from Visual Studio. It is possible to create PowerShell projects, with support both for modules and scripts. While coding, you can expect help from IntelliSense and the usual navigation features, such as jumping to a function definition. While debugging, the call stack is available and the local variables window behaves as expected. Breakpoint support is not fully featured as conditional breakpoints are missing. They are in the roadmap, though. PowerShell Tools also provides a test adapter for Pester, a unit test and mocking framework for PowerShell.

The new release now supports 64-bits functionality, such as PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC) and Workflow features, as well as Office and SharePoint scripting. Another powerful feature is remote session support. As Andre Sayre, member of the Microsoft's Cloud Platform, demoed at the recent PowerShell Summit, it is now possible to create a session at a remote computer, open a script there and then edit and debug it. This is an important feature given the recently announced Windows Nano Server, which provides no local UI whatsoever. On user experience, the document editor and the PowerShell interactive window now have full IntelliSense and AutoComplete capabilities. PowerShell Tools newest release also brings support to Visual Studio 2015 RC and Windows 10, in addition to Visual Studio 2013.

In his presentation, Adam Sayre talked about the future of PowerShell Tools. The team wants to address editor improvements such as better code navigation, better formatting and refactoring capabilities. They also want to leverage new PowerShell 5 debugging features, such as attaching to and debugging running scripts. Mixed mode debugging (e.g., jumping from PowerShell to C#) might also be on the cards.

GitHub hosts both Adam Driscoll's PowerShell Tools official repository, as well as Microsoft's fork. Both repositories use GitHub issues to manage all their development, so that's a good way to learn about future developments as well as to post any issues you might have.

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