PowerShell MDT – Let’s do this!

This week at the Midwest Management Summit, Michael Niehaus (twitter: @mniehaus) presented a vision for the future of the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit, a future that is made up of PowerShell for the underlying scripts of MDT and a move away from the VBscripts that have been the core of MDT since 2005.  Over the past year and a half, Keith Garner (twitter: @keithga1) and I have been speaking to just about anyone who would listen about modernizing MDT and moving to a PowerShell code base.  We knew that it wouldn’t truly take hold unless someone within Microsoft got behind the initiative.  I couldn’t be more pleased that Michael took up the charge on his own to help move this forward.

The timing is just about perfect.  With some recent PowerShell enhancements, we now have a rich development environment.  PowerShell with XAML provides an opportunity to create a much richer user interface than HTAs could deliver.  PowerShell with WMF 5.0 now supports PowerShell classes (something that we had done in VBscript) in order to better control error handling and more structure to the scripts.  PowerShell also supports direct calls into the .NET framework so we have far more options for security than could be developed with the VBscripts.

So why make this effort Open Source?  When Michael, Keith and I were developing previous versions of MDT we were always limited in scope based on budgets and testing resources.  This prevented us from really diving deep into items like Server installs or even approaching something like a multi-lingual user interface.  With an Open Source model the community can help test, provide feedback, directly submit bugs and even provide fixes.

Some of the items that I look forward to helping to develop include:

  • A PowerShell Class structure for the MDT scripts
  • A true multi-lingual user interface (with translations created from developers around the world)
  • Ability to consume DSC resources within MDT
  • Consume PowerShell get to install packages
  • Plus, many more

This project will not succeed without a LOT of help from you in the community.  So how can you get involved?  Fork Michael’s existing code base here: (https://github.com/mtniehaus/psd) and start testing, submitting feedback, create scripts, fix bugs.

The future of deployment really is now in our hands.



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