Summary: The Microsoft Scripting Guys formally announce the 2011 Scripting Games featuring Windows PowerShell.

Hey, Scripting Guy! Question

Hey, Scripting Guy! Hi Ed, I was wondering when you are going to announce the 2011 Scripting Games? In addition, what changes or improvements do you anticipate for this year?

—EO

Hey, Scripting Guy! Answer Hello EO,

Microsoft Scripting, Guy Ed Wilson here. There is as an old poem that eloquently expresses my sentiment: “In the spring, a young scripter’s thoughts turn to the Scripting Games…” Yes indeed, the 2011 scripting games are fast approaching. There will be two categories: Beginner and Advanced. Just like last year, the beginner’s division is really for beginners. If you have been wanting to learn Windows PowerShell, but you did not know how to go about it, you definitely need to sign up for the 2011 Scripting Games to give yourself a bit of added incentive. If you want to take your skills to the next level, you will want to participate in the Advanced category. Dr. Scripto has been training (as seen in the following photo), and he is approaching peak shape.

Photo of Dr. Scripto

I will be putting together a learning guide for the 2011 Scripting Games to help you in your study and in your preparation for the games. This guide will be useful for both beginning and advanced scripters. In the meantime, you should check out the study guide for the 2010 Scripting Games, as well as the events and the solutions for the events from the 2010 games. Even if you are not planning to enter the 2011 Scripting Games (and I cannot fathom why because they are fun, free, and functional), the materials from the 2010 Scripting Games combine to create a great hands on lab for learning Windows PowerShell scripting.

The 2011 Scripting Games will officially launch on Monday April 4, 2011. Two changes will immediately be obvious. The first obvious change is that there is no VBScript category this year. There are three reasons for this:

1. The number of VBScript entries last year was significantly lower than the number of Windows PowerShell entries.

2. It is difficult to find expert commentators to write VBScript solutions. This is because nearly every expert VBScript writer I know has started writing in Windows PowerShell—and once someone begins to write in Windows PowerShell, they really do not want to go back to writing in VBScript again.

3. It is nearly impossible to keep the VBScript track and the Windows PowerShell track on parity with each other. Windows PowerShell makes many things very easy to accomplish; whereas, in VBScript, they were rather cryptic and difficult to do. Therefore, if I write an event that has one retrieve the BIOS settings from a local computer, it is one line of code in Windows PowerShell, but it is perhaps seven lines of code in VBScript. In addition, Windows PowerShell introduces several very powerful things that were impossible to accomplish in VBScript. Therefore, those types of events become off limit.

This year, things will be a bit different from a Windows PowerShell perspective, and I intend to put scriptwriters of all levels of accomplishment through the paces of ten real world based scenarios.

The second obvious change is that the events are live a week before the answers will be available for viewing. This means that event 1 reveals on Monday April 4, 2011. You will be able to submit your answer on that same date. However, no one will be able to view the answers that are submitted to PoshCode prior to Monday April 11, 2011. On Monday April 11, 2011, submissions for event 1 cease. This adds to the mystery of the event and heightens suspense.

There are probably a dozen other tweaks and improvements to the 2011 Scripting Games, but the essential elements are unchanged. We are continuing our partnership with PoshCode this year because I think it is cool to collaborate with Microsoft MVPs, and I am all about community participation. Besides all that, the PoshCode people are fun to work with.

What else do I need to say? Oh yeah, how about prizes? There will be awesome prizes this year…stay tuned for that announcement. How about celebrity judges, expert commentators, and other stuff? Check, check, and check!

One last thing…on Twitter, I will be using the tag #2011SG so it will be easy to filter out tweets related to the games. Be sure to check out our Facebook page as well.

EO, I hope that you are as excited about the 2011 Scripting Games as I am—they will be awesome! Join me tomorrow for the Weekend Scripter as I delve into the mysteries of working with code snippets in the Windows PowerShell ISE. I have two really cool articles on tap for this weekend.

I invite you to follow me on Twitter and Facebook. If you have any questions, send email to me at scripter@microsoft.com, or post your questions on the Official Scripting Guys Forum. See you tomorrow. Until then, peace.

Ed Wilson, Microsoft Scripting Guy