One of the new features I’ve worked on was connecting Diagrams with Tables. Someone suggested, and I thought it would be cool to be able to click on the Diagram node and find more details about it in a table next to it. But then I thought it would be even cooler if you could have multiple tables linked to one Diagram. For example, below, I’ve created two tables with Users and Computers and populated Diagram with that data.
A few months ago, when I was working on PSWriteWord and PSWriteHTML, I thought to myself that in 2020 if I’ll get time, I’ll try to create PSWriteVisio. While I wasn’t sure I would be able to make it past some concept, it was in my plans for 2020. It’s still 2019 though, and while working on Testimo for Active Directory Healthchecks, I thought it would be nice to have a visual representation of network, forest schema or replication. I couldn’t get this idea out of my head. I thought on using PSGraph from Kevin Marquette to generate image and import that to PSWriteHTML but it was a bit tricky and PSGraph requires external software to work – and has some additional steps for Windows, Mac or Linux.
For the last few weeks I’m working on a small project, that should be released within next few weeks (it is open source so don’t worry – you’ll get to play with it). This project requires me to compare two or more objects and tell if those are equal and if those aren’t to what degree. Of course, PowerShell offers built-in functionality via Compare-Object command. It’s mighty but it leaves comparing differences, different properties to you. While there are probably other solutions that help users compare objects, I haven’t found anything that would meet my requirements. After I’ve written Compare-MultipleObjects function, I thought it could be interesting to implement visual comparison – you know human-readable – and I had the perfect place to apply it.
Last few weeks, I’ve been working on making creating HTML based Dashboards, Reports, and Emails better. PSWriteHTML already allows fancy looking reports or emails without much effort, but this release makes it even more helpful. I will be mixing three PowerShell modules in this blost post – PSWriteHTML (responsible for creating HTML/CSS/JS code), Emailimo (simplifies creating emails based on PSWriteHTML) and Dashimo (simple dashboard building). If you’ve never heard of those modules before I encourage you to start from earlier blogs about them to understand the concepts before you dive into this one. Hopefully, those will give you some ideas that will match what you will learn today.
I saw this article by Altaro tweeted Building PowerShell Tools for MSPs: HTML Tables for Reporting, and it describes how you can create HTML emails with just a few lines of code. Luke created that article in 2018 (tweets from the archive I guess), but I just saw it now so thought I would make a slight comparison. In 2018 I would probably go the same way as shown by Luke Orellana, who takes a simple example of querying WMI to get disk drive sizes and send them over, formatted via Email.
Last few days, I’ve fulfilled my little dream related to building HTML tables. You know I’ve been using HTML based scripts for a long while for Microsoft Exchange from multiple people like Steve Goodman or Paul Cunningham (and others) and when I was going thru their PowerShell building code on how they create an HTML table with multi-row titles I thought Those guys are crazy. The effort to build an HTML table for a report for a person who has no clue how to do it is not something one can easily digest and understand. Sure I’ve learned how to build HTML tables at some point, but there was one final piece that I was missing – multi-row headers. If you don’t know what I mean, and how they look like the below image from Steve’s Goodman script should give you a hint.
A few months ago when I first released Dashimo, I’ve promised that Charts will come. Unfortunately, time passed by, and there were no Charts in sight. It’s not that I didn’t want to deliver, I just wasn’t sure on the way I want to allow charts building. Today after playing with the idea for a while I’ve decided to release essential support for diagrams, with a couple of other fixes. Some of that stuff is already there for longer while I just never announced it. There are probably a lot of other hidden gems you may find if you explore PSWriteHTML or Dashimo.
It’s no secret that nobody likes creating documentation. I don’t like it, and you don’t like it, even documentation lovers don’t like it. But while you can live without documentation, you really shouldn’t. And I am not talking here only about documentation that is only useful in the onboarding process of new employees or documentation concerning introducing someone to some concepts to get them easily start. I’m talking about documentation for your live environment where you know what you have, how you have set it up, but is still the same after one week, one month, or one year? Usually, not so much. And one of the worst mistakes admin can do is assume that his environment doesn’t change, things are as they were when they were set up.
Dashimo ultimate goal is to be as easy to use as possible. With the introduction of it a few days ago I made a promise to myself that I want to keep it as simple to use as possible. If you don’t know what Dashimo is, have a read here – Meet Dashimo. When I posted it on Reddit few people had some ideas and feature request that would make it a bit nicer, and when I heard about I agreed. So today, after a couple of days I have a few updates. I also noticed that my examples might have been too hard to use and understand for beginners and people not having a lot of touch with Active Directory. This time all code you can find below will use Get-Process as a way to show you that you can use any output that comes as a Table.
Today I wanted to introduce a little product that I’ve created in the last few weeks called Dashimo. It doesn’t cover everything I wanted from it (feature wise), but it already can be used in production. Therefore, I thought it would be a good idea to get some feedback on whether I should spend some more time on it or throw it in the dumpster. Dashimo joins it’s older brother Statusimo of PowerShell modules allowing an easy way to build HTML output. If it will feel familiar, it’s because it was inspired with Bradley Wyatt PowerShell script he did. It gave me the idea of how I would like to build something similar but in a bit different way then he did, with much more flexibility. Still, if it wasn’t for him, the idea wouldn’t be there, therefore you should send him your thanks.