How to fork a GitHub repository and contribute to an open source project

I enjoying maintaining open source GitHub repositories such as dbachecks and ADSNotebook. I absolutely love it when people add more functionality to them.

To collaborate with a repository in GitHub you need to follow these steps

  • Fork the repository into your own GitHub
  • Clone the repository to your local machine
  • Create a new branch for your changes
  • Make some changes and commit them with useful messages
  • Push the changes to your repository
  • Create a Pull Request from your repository back to the original one

You will need to have git.exe available which you can download and install from https://git-scm.com/downloads if required

Fork the repository into your own GitHub

A fork is a copy of the original repository. This allows you to make changes without affecting the original project. It does not get updated when the original project gets updated (We will talk about that in the next post) This enables you to code a new feature or a bug fix, test it locally and make sure it is working.

Let’s take dbachecks as our example. Start by going to the project in GiHub. In this case the URL is https://github.com/sqlcollaborative/dbachecks You will see a Fork button at the top right of the page

When you click the button the repository is copied into your own GitHub account

The page will open at https://github.com/YOURGITHUBUSERNAME/NameOfRepository in this case https://github.com/SQLDBAWithABeard/dbachecks You will be able to see that it is a fork of the original repository at the top of the page

Clone the repository to your local machine

Forking the repository has created a remote repository stored on the GitHub servers. Now that the repository has been forked you need to clone it to your local machine to create a local repository so that you can start coding your amazing fix. When you have finished you can then sync it back to your remote repository ready for a Pull Request back to the original repository.

In your browser, at your remote repository that you just created (https://github.com/YOURGITHUBUSERNAME/NameOfRepository if you have closed the page) click on Clone or Download and then the icon to the right to copy the url

You can clone your repository in VS Code or Azure Data Studio by clicking F1 or CTRL + SHIFT + P in Windows or Linux and ⇧⌘P or F1 on a Mac

then start typing clone until you see Git:Clone and press enter or click

Paste in the URL that you just copied and click enter. A dialog will open asking you to select a folder. This is the parent directory where your local repository will be created. The clone will create a directory for your repository so you do not need to. I suggest that you use a folder called GitHub or something similar to place all of the repositories that you are going to clone and create.

When it has finished it will ask you if you wish to open the repository

if you click Open it will close anything that you have already got opened and open the folder. If you click Add to Workspace it will add the folder to the workspace and leave everything you already had open as it was and surprisingly clicking Open in New Window will open the folder in a new instance of Visual Studio Code or Azure Data Studio!

and you will also be able to see the local repository files on your computer

You can clone the repository at the command line if you wish by navigating to your local GitHub directory and running git clone TheURLYouCopied

Now your local repository has been created, it’s time to do your magic coding.

Create a new branch for your changes

It is a good idea to create a branch for your amazing new feature This enables you to work on coding for that feature in isolation. It has the added advantage that if you mess it right royally up, you can just delete that branch and start again with a new one!

To create a branch in VS Code or Azure Data Studio you can click on the branch name at the bottom left.

Or open the Command Palette and type Branch until you see Git: Create Branch

You will be prompted for a branch name

I like to choose a name that relates to the code that I am writing like configurable_engine or removeerroringexample You can see the name of the branch in the bottom left so that you always know which branch you are working on.

The icon shows that the branch is only local and hasn’t been pushed (published) to the remote repository yet

Make some changes and commit them with useful messages

Now you can start writing your code for your awesome new feature, bug fix or maybe just documentation improvement. Keep your commits small and give them useful commit messages that explain why you have made the change as the diff tooling will be able to show what change you have made

Write your code or change the documentation, save the file and in Visual Studio Code or Azure Data Studio you will see that the source control icon has a number on it

Clicking on the icon will show the files that have changes ready

You can write your commit message in the box and click CTRL + ENTER to commit your changes with a message

If you want to do this at the command line, you can use git status to see which files have changes

You will need to git add .or git add .\pathtofile to stage your changes ready for committing and then git commit -m 'Commit Message' to commit them

Notice that I did exactly what I just said not to do! A better commit message would have been So that people can find the guide to forking and creating a PR

Push the changes to your repository

You only have the changes that you have made in your local repository on your computer. Now you need to push those changes to Github your remote repository. You can click on the publish icon

You will get a pop-up asking you if you wish to stage your changes. I click Yes and never Always so that I can use this prompt as a sanity check that I am doing the right thing

At the command line you can push the branch, if you do that, you will have to tell git where the branch needs to go. If you just type git push it will helpfully tell you

fatal: The current branch AwesomeNewFeature has no upstream branch.
To push the current branch and set the remote as upstream, use

    git push --set-upstream origin AwesomeNewFeature

So you will need to use that command

You can see in the bottom left that the icon has changed

and if you read the output of the git push command you will see what the next step is also.

Create a Pull Request from your repository back to the original one

You can CTRL click the link in the git push output if you have pushed from the command line or if you visit either you repository or the original repository in your browser you will see that there is a Compare and Pull Request button

You click that and let GitHub do its magic

and it will create a Pull Request for you ready for you to fill in the required information, ask for reviewers and other options. Once you have done that you can click Create pull request and wait for the project maintainer to review it and (hopefully) accept it into their project

You can find the Pull Request that I created here https://github.com/sqlcollaborative/dbachecks/pull/720 and see how the rest of this blog post was created.

If you make more changes to the code in the same branch in your local repository and push them, they will automatically be added to this Pull Request whilst it is open. You can do this if the maintainer or reviewer asks for changes.

Shane has asked for a change

So I can go to my local repository in Azure Data Studio and make the requested change and save the file. If I look in the source control in Azure Data Studio I can again see there is a change waiting to be committed and if I click on the name of the file I can open the diff tool to see what the change was

Once I am happy with my change I can commit it again in the same way as before either in the editor or at the command line. The icon at the bottom will change to show that I have one commit in my local repository waiting to be pushed

To do the same thing at the command line I can type git status and see the same thing.

I can then push my change to my remote repository either in the GUI or by using git push

and it will automatically be added to the Pull Request as you can see

Now that the required changes for the review have been made, the review has been approved by Shane and the pull request is now ready to be merged. (You can also see that dbachecks runs some checks against the code when a Pull Request is made)

Many, many thanks to Shane b | t who helped with the writing of this post even whilst on a “no tech” holiday.

Go Ahead – Contribute to an Open Source Project

Hopefully you can now see how easy it is to create a fork of a GitHub repository, clone it to your own machine and contribute. There are many open source projects that you can contribute to.

You can use this process to contribute to the Microsoft Docs for example by clicking on the edit button on any page.

You can contribute other open source projects like

or go and find the the ones that you use and can help with.

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Fixing the ‘Failed to generate the compressed file for module ‘C:\Program Files\dotnet\dotnet.exe’ error when deploying to the PowerShell Gallery using Azure DevOps

The PowerShell module for validating your SQL Server estate dbachecks is deployed via Azure DevOps, you can see how it is working (or not) via this link

Grrr Automation for the Lose!

Until recently, this had worked successfully. In the last few weeks I have been receiving errors

 Exception : Microsoft.PowerShell.Commands.WriteErrorException: Failed to generate the compressed file for module 'C:\Program Files\dotnet\dotnet.exe failed to pack: error 
 C:\Program Files\dotnet\sdk\3.0.100\Sdks\NuGet.Build.Tasks.Pack\build\NuGet.Build.Tasks.Pack.targets(198,5): error : 
2 Index was outside the bounds of the array. 
 [C:\Users\VssAdministrator\AppData\Local\Temp\cbc14ba6-5832-46fd-be89-04bb552a83ac\Temp.csproj]
'.
At C:\Program Files\WindowsPowerShell\Modules\PowerShellGet\2.2.1\PSModule.psm1:10944 char:17
20       Publish-PSArtifactUtility @PublishPSArtifactUtility_Param ...
              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
+ CategoryInfo          : InvalidOperation: (:) [Write-Error], WriteErrorException
2019-11-25T22:44:46.8459493Z     + FullyQualifiedErrorId : FailedToCreateCompressedModule,Publish-PSArtifactUtility

You can see these errors in the release pipeline logs here

Confusion

This was very frustrating as it was stopping the continuous delivery to the PowerShell Gallery. It was even more confusing as I was successfully deploying the ADSNotebook module to the gallery using the same method as you can see here.

Raise an Issue on GitHub

I went and looked at the PowerShellGet GitHub repository and opened an issue I also found another issue regarding Required Modules

But this doesnt help to get dbachecks released.

Just Try to Make it Work

I asked the wonderful folk in the PowerShell Slack channel – Through the magic of automation, you can also interact with them via the powershellhelp channel in the SQL Server Slack as well but there were no answers that could assist.

So I had to go searching for an answer. PowerShellGet uses nuget for package management. I found that if I downloaded an earlier version and placed it in my user profile (in the right location) I could publish the module.

I found this out by removing the nuget.exe from anywhere useful on the machine and trying to publish the module. The error message says

NuGet.exe upgrade is required to continue
This version of PowerShellGet requires minimum version '4.1.0' of NuGet.exe to publish an item to the NuGet-based repositories. NuGet.exe must be available in 
'C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\PowerShell\PowerShellGet\' or 'C:\Users\BeardyMcBeardFace\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\PowerShell\PowerShellGet\', or under 
one of the paths specified in PATH environment variable value. NuGet.exe can be downloaded from https://aka.ms/psget-nugetexe. For more information, see 
https://aka.ms/installing-powershellget . Do you want PowerShellGet to upgrade to the latest version of NuGet.exe now?

If I said yes then I got the latest version and the error continued.

However, on my laptop I can go to the nuget downloads page and download an earlier version and place it in one of those paths then I could publish the module.

Can I Automate it?

I would rather not have to deploy manually though, and as I use hosted agents my access to the operating system is limited so I wondered if I could place the nuget.exe in the user profile and it would get used or if it would look for the the latest one. Turns out it uses the one in the user profile 🙂

So now I have this code as a step in my Azure DevOps Release pipeline before calling Publish-Module and we have automated the releases again.

and now deployments to the PowerShell Gallery are just triggered by the build and the pipeline is green again 🙂

Dynamically Creating Azure Data Studio Notebooks with PowerShell for an Incident Response Index Notebook

Now that Azure Data Studio has PowerShell Notebooks and there is a PowerShell Module for creating notebooks. I have been asked, more than once, what is the point? What is the use case? How does this help. I hope that this post will spark some ideas of one particular use-case.

I showed my silly example PowerShell code to create a PowerShell Notebook that created a PowerShell Notebook to my good friend Nick.

Nick is a fantastic, clever DBA who isn’t active on social media, which is a great shame as if he had time to share some of his fantastic work we would all benefit. He looked at that code and less than an hour later, came back to me with this code and idea which I have replicated here with his permission.

Thanks Nick.

The Use Case

The use case that Nick has is that he is converting some troubleshooting runbooks from their original locations (you know the sort of places – Sharepoint Docs, OneNote Notebooks, Shared Folders, the desktop of the Bastion Host) into a single repository of Azure Data Studio SQL or PowerShell Notebooks.

The idea is to have a single entry point into the troubleshooting steps and for the on-call DBA to create a Notebook from a template for the issue at hand which could be attached to an incident in the incident management solution. I suppose you could call it an Index Notebook.

Work Flow

When the DBA (or another team) opens this Notebook, they can choose the task that they are going to perform and click the link which will

  • copy the Notebook to the local machine
  • Rename the Notebook with the username and date
  • Open it ready for the work.

Once the work has been completed, the DBA can then attach the Notebook to the task or incident that has been created or use it in the Wash-Up/ Post Incident meeting.

This ensures that the original template notebook stays intact and unchanged and it is easy (which is always good when you are called out at 3am!) to create a uniquely named notebook .

Azure DevOps

Nick has placed this code into the deploy step in Azure DevOps which will deploy the template Notebooks from source control into the common folder and then this code will dynamically create the index Notebook each time there is a release.

Whilst the initial use case is incident response, this could easily be adapted for Notebooks used for Common Tasks or Run Books.

Notebooks

There are a number of Notebooks for different issue stored in directories. For this post, I have used the Notebooks from Microsoft that explain SQL 2019 features and troubleshooting which you can find in their GitHub repositories by following this link

The Azure DevOps deploys the Notebooks to a directory which then looks something like this

Some directories of Notebooks in a directory

Create an Index Notebook

Here is the code to create an index Notebook

This creates a Notebook in the root of the folder. It also uses the new -Collapse parameter in New-AdsNoteBookCell that creates the code blocks with the code collapsed so that it looks neater. The index Notebook looks like this in the root of the folder

Three O’Clock in the Morning

It’s 3am and I have been called out. I can open up the Index Notebook, find the set of queries I want to run and click the run button.

A new workbook opens up, named with my name and the time and I can get to work 🙂 I think it’s neat.

Here’s a video

Thanks Nick.

Maybe you can find him at SQL Bits next year. Did you know that SQL Bits 2020 was announced?

Check out https://sqlbits.com for more details

Create a PowerShell Notebook for Azure Data Studio with PowerShell

The latest update to the ADSNotebook PowerShell module I blogged about here now enables the creation of PowerShell notebooks with PowerShell.

You can install the module with

Install-Module ADSNotebook

or if you have already installed it you can use

Update-Module ADSNotebook

In the latest release, there is an extra parameter for New-AdsWorkBook of -Type which will accept either SQL or PowerShell

Create a PowerShell Notebook with PowerShell Rob

OK!

Here is some code to create a PowerShell Notebook. First we will create some cells using New-AdsWorkBookCell including all the markdown to add images and links. You can find my notebooks which explain how to write the markdown for your notebooks in my GitHub Presentations Repository

$introCelltext = "# Welcome to my Auto Generated PowerShell Notebook

## dbatools
![image](https://user-images.githubusercontent.com/6729780/68845538-7afcd200-06c3-11ea-952e-e4fe72a68fc8.png)  

dbatools is an open-source PowerShell Module for administering SQL Servers.
You can read more about dbatools and find the documentation at [dbatools.io](dbatools.io)
"
$SecondCelltext = "### Installation
You can install dbatools from the PowerShell Gallery using `Install-Module dbatools`
"

$thirdcelltext = "Install-Module dbatools"

$fourthCelltext = "### Getting Help
You should always use `Get-Help` to fins out how to use dbatools (and any PowerShell) commands"

$fifthcelltext = "Get-Help Get-DbaDatabase"
$sixthCelltext = "Try a command now. get the name, owner and collation of the user databases on the local instance"
$seventhCellText = "Get-DbaDatabase -SqlInstance localhost -ExcludeSystem | Select Name, Owner, Collation"

$Intro = New-ADSWorkBookCell -Type Text -Text $introCelltext
$second = New-ADSWorkBookCell -Type Text -Text $SecondCelltext
$third = New-ADSWorkBookCell -Type Code -Text $thirdcelltext
$fourth = New-ADSWorkBookCell -Type Text -Text $fourthCelltext
$fifth = New-ADSWorkBookCell -Type Code -Text $fifthcelltext
$sixth = New-ADSWorkBookCell -Type Text -Text $sixthCelltext
$seventh = New-ADSWorkBookCell -Type Code -Text $seventhCellText

Then we will create a new workbook using those cells

$path = 'C:\temp\dbatools.ipynb'
New-ADSWorkBook -Path $path -cells $Intro,$second,$third,$fourth,$fifth,$sixth,$Seventh -Type PowerShell

Then, when that code is run we can open the Notebook and ta-da

And it is super quick to run as well

UPDATE – Tyler Leonhardt t from the PowerShell team asked

Challenge accepted, with extra meta, here is the PowerShell to create a PowerShell Notebook which will create a PowerShell Notebook!!

Create Azure Data Studio SQL Notebooks with PowerShell

At PASS Summit today I gave a presentation about SQL Notebooks in Azure Data Studio for the DBA. I demo’d the PowerShell module ADSSQLNotebook.

which you can also find on GitHub (where I will be glad to take PR’s to improve it 🙂 )

This module has 3 functions

This module contains only 3 commands at present

  • Convert-ADSPowerShellForMarkdown

This will create the markdown link for embedding PowerShell code in a Text Cell for a SQL Notebook as described in this blog post

  • New-ADSWorkBookCell

This command will create a workbook text cell or a code cell for adding to the New-ADSWorkBook command

  • New-ADSWorkBook

This will create a new SQL Notebook using the cell objects created by New-ADSWorkBookCell

Usage

Convert-ADSPowerShellForMarkdown

Convert-ADSPowerShellForMarkdown -InputText "Get-ChildItem" -LinkText 'This will list the files' -ToClipBoard

Converts the PowerShell so that it works with MarkDown and sets it to the clipboard for pasting into a workbook cell

New-ADSWorkBookCell

$introCelltext = "# Welcome to my Auto Generated Notebook

## Automation
Using this we can automate the creation of notebooks for our use
"
$Intro = New-ADSWorkBookCell -Type Text -Text $introCelltext

Creates an Azure Data Studio Text cell and sets it to a variable for passing to  New-AdsWorkBook

New-ADSWorkBook

$introCelltext = "# Welcome to my Auto     Generated Notebook

## Automation
Using this we can automate the creation of notebooks for our use
"
$SecondCelltext = "## Running code
The next cell will have some code in it for running

## Server Principals
Below is the code to run against your     instance to find the server principals that are enabled"

$thirdcelltext = "SELECT Name
FROM sys.server_principals
WHERE is_disabled = 0"
$Intro = New-ADSWorkBookCell -Type Text -Text $introCelltext
$second = New-ADSWorkBookCell -Type Text  -Text $SecondCelltext
$third = New-ADSWorkBookCell -Type Code -Text $thirdcelltext

$path = 'C:\temp\AutoGenerated.ipynb'
New-ADSWorkBook -Path $path -cells $Intro,$second,$third

Creates 3 cells with New-AdsWorkBookCells to add to the workbook,
two text ones and a code one, then creates a SQL Notebook with
those cells and saves it as     C:\temp\AutoGenerated.ipynb

Installation

You can install this Module from the PowerShell Gallery using

Install-Module ADSNotebook

Compatability

This module has been tested on Windows PowerShell 5.1, PowerShell Core 6 and PowerShell 7 on Windows 10 and Ubuntu

Demo

My current VS Code Extensions and using a workspace file

I have been asked a couple of times recently what my Visual Studio Code extensions are at the moment so I thought I would write a quick post and also look at workspaces and how you can enable and disable extensions within them

Listing Extensions

From the command line you can list your extensions using

code --list-extensions
code-insiders --list-extensions

My list looks like this

You can also see them in the view on the left of default Visual Studio Code and open them with CTRL + SHIFT + X (unless like me you have Snaggit installed and it has taken that shortcut

Installing Extensions

You can install extensions by opening the Extensions view in Visual Studio Code and searching for the extension. The list I have below has the precise names for each extension which you can use to search

You can also install extensions from the command-line with

code --install-extension <extensionid>
code-insiders --install-extension <extensionid>

My Extensions

I am going to list these in alphabetical order by display name for ease (my ease that is!)

Because Chrissy LeMaire and I are writing dbatools in a Month of Lunches using AsciiDoc, it makes sense to have an extension enabling previewing and syntax, you can find it here

For interacting with Azure I use the Azure Account Extension – ms-vscode.azure-account

I use Azure CLI so I make use of the functionality of the Azure CLI Tools extension ms-vscode.azurecli

For interacting with Azure Repos I use the ms-vsts.team extension

When creating ARM templates, this extension is very useful msazurermtools.azurerm-vscode-tools

I have a few theme extensions, this one is for fun in demos 😉 beardedbear.beardedtheme

The blackboard theme is my default one gerane.theme-blackboard

Chasing closing brackets is much easier with the Bracket Pair Colorixer, I use the beta version coenraads.bracket-pair-colorizer-2

I am rubbish at spelling and typing so I use this to help point out the issues! streetsidesoftware.code-spell-checker

Using the Docker extension adds another view to Visual Studio Code to ease working with containers ms-azuretools.vscode-docker

As an open-source project maintainer it is good to be able to work with GitHub pull requests without leaving Visual Studio Code github.vscode-pull-request-githubPreview

GitLens is absolutely invaluable when working with source control. It has so many features. This is an absolute must eamodio.gitlens

Working with Kubernetes? This extension adds another view for interacting with your cluster ms-kubernetes-tools.vscode-kubernetes-tools

Visual Studio Live Share enables you to collaborate in real-time in Visual Studio Code with your colleagues or friends. I blogged about this here ms-vsliveshare.vsliveshare

I love writing markdown and this linter assists me to ensure that my markdown is correct davidanson.vscode-markdownlint

The Material Icon Theme ensures that there are pretty icons in my editor! pkief.material-icon-theme

I have both the PowerShell extension ms-vscode.powershell and the PowerShell preview extension ms-vscode.powershell-preview installed but only one can be enabled at a time

This suite of extensions enables easy remote development so that you can develop your PowerShell scripts, for example, inside a ubuntu container running PowerShell 7 or inside Windows Subsystem for LInux ms-vscode-remote.vscode-remote-extensionpackPreview

Writing for cross-platform means looking out for line endings and this extension will display them and any whitespace in your editor medo64.render-crlf

An absolutely essential extension which enables me to backup all of my Visual Studio Code settings, shortcuts, extensions into a GitHub gist and keep all of my machines feeling the same. shan.code-settings-sync

For working with SQL Server within Visual Studio Code and having a view for my instances as well as a linter and intellisense I use ms-mssql.mssql

Yaml files and spaces! I no longer get so confused with this extension to help me 🙂 redhat.vscode-yaml

Workspaces

Now that is a lot of extensions and I dont need all of them everytime. I use workspaces to help with this. I will create a workspace file for the project I am working on.

I open or create the folders I will be working on and then click File and Save Workspace As and save the file in the root of the folder.

Now, the next time I want to open the workspace, I can open the workspace file or if I open the folder Visual Studio Code will helpfully prompt me

Now I can have all of my settings retained for that workspace

For this folder, I am ensuring that the PowerShell extension uses the PSScriptAnalyzer Settings file that I have created so that it will show if the code is compatible with the versions of PowerShell I have chosen. I can define settings for a workspace in the settings file, which you can open using CTRL and ,

But I can also enable or disable extensions for a workspace

So everytime I open this workspace I am only loading the extensions I want

PowerShell Notebooks in Azure Data Studio

The latest release of the insiders edition of Azure Data Studio brings the first edition of PowerShell Notebooks!

You can download the latest insiders edition from the link above, it can be installed alongside the stable release.

To access many of the commands available use F1 to open the command palette (like many of my tips this also works in Visual Studio Code). You can then start typing to get the command that you want.

You can then hit enter with the command that you want highlighted, use the mouse or use the shortcut which is displayed to the right.

In a new notebook, you can click the drop down next to kernel and now you can see that PowerShell is available

When you choose the PowerShell kernel, you will get a prompt asking you to configure the Python installation

If you have Python already installed you can browse to the location that it is installed or you can install Python. In the bottom pane you will be able to see the progress of the installation.

When it has completed, you will see

You may also get a prompt asking if you would like to upgrade some packages

Again this will be displayed in the tasks pane

Adding PowerShell


To add PowerShell Code to the notebook click the Code button at the top of the file

or the one you can find by highlighting above or below a block

I did not have intellisense, but you can easily write your code in Azure Data Studio or Visual Studio Code and paste it in the block.

Interestingly Shawn Melton ( t ) did

This was because he had the PowerShell extension installed and I did not (I know !!)
If you find you dont have intellisense then install the PowerShell extension!

Clicking the play button (which is only visible when you hover the mouse over it) will run the code

You can clear the results from every code block using the clear results button at the top

Otherwise, you can save the results with the Notebook by saving it. This is the part that is missing from running PowerShell in the Markdown blocks in a SQL Notebook as I described here

I am looking forward to how this develops. You can find my sample PowerShell notebook (with the code results) here

Getting SQL Server installation date with PowerShell using dbatools

Most of my writing time at the moment is devoted to  Learn dbatools in a Month of Lunches which is now available but here is a short post following a question someone asked me.

How can I get the Installation Date for SQL Server on my estate into a database with dbatools ?

You can get the date that SQL Server was installed using the creation date of the NT Authority\System login using T-SQL

SELECT create_date 
FROM sys.server_principals 
WHERE sid = 0x010100000000000512000000

With dbatools

To do this with dbatools you can use the command Get-DbaInstanceInstallDate command

Get-DbaInstanceInstallDate -SqlInstance localhost 

More than one instance

If we want to get the installation date for more than one instance we can simply create an array of instances for the SqlInstance parameter

Get-DbaInstanceInstallDate -SqlInstance localhost, localhost\DAVE

Get the Windows installation date too

You can also get the windows installation date with the IncludeWindows switch

Get-DbaInstanceInstallDate -SqlInstance localhost, localhost\DAVE -IncludeWindows 

Gather your instances

How you get the instances in your estate is going to be different per reader but here is an example using Registered Servers from my local registered servers list, you can also use a Central Management Server

Get-DbaRegisteredServer -Group local 

So we can gather those instances into a variable and pass that to Get-DbaInstanceInstallDate

$SqlInstances = Get-DbaRegisteredServer -Group local 
Get-DbaInstanceInstallDate -SqlInstance $SqlInstances 

Add to database

To add the results of any PowerShell command to a database, you can pipe the results to Write-DbaDbTableData

$SqlInstances = Get-DbaRegisteredServer -Group local 

$writeDbaDataTableSplat = @{
    SqlInstance = 'localhost'
    Table = 'InstallDate'
    Database = 'tempdb'
    Schema = 'dbo'
    AutoCreateTable = $true
}

Get-DbaInstanceInstallDate -SqlInstance $SqlInstances | Write-DbaDataTable @writeDbaDataTableSplat

This will create a table called InstallDate and put the results of the Get-DbaInstanceInstallDate command. Note – If you want to try this code, I would advise using a different database than tempdb!!

It is important to note that the table created may not have the most optimal data types and that you may want to pre-create the table.

So there you go, all the installation dates for your estate in a database table. Hope that helps you Jonny.

MEAP MEAP – #dbatoolsMoL – Live Book edition

It’s been a busy time!

As well as many other things, the fantastical BDFL of dbatools Chrissy Lemaire @cl and myself have written enough of a chunk of Learn dbatools in a Month of Lunches that our publisher Manning Publications have agreed to release it as a MEAP. Not a text book, this book is written in a fun conversational style and split up into chapters that you can read in a lunch-time.

It is impossible for me to hear MEAP and not think of this 🙂

but I expect you are wondering what a MEAP is?

What is MEAP?
A book can take a year or more to write, so how do you learn that hot new technology today? The answer is MEAP, the Manning Early Access Program. In MEAP, you read a book chapter-by-chapter while it’s being written and get the final eBook as soon as it’s finished. If you pre-order the pBook, you’ll get it long before it’s available in stores.

https://www.manning.com/meap-program

Basically, to make it easy to get and for those that like to get in early, you can order the book and get the first 4 chapters (three in reality) RIGHT NOW!! (It also means that Chrissy and I have to write the rest of book – dang still going to be busy!)

Simply head over to https://beard.media/bookblog and use the code mlsewell and you can get access to the book too.

This will also give you access to the live book.

live book

The live book is fantastic, you can read the whole book from within your browser. See the three icons that appear to the right of the book?

3 little icons (no porridge)

The left hand one enables you to bookmark an important part so that you can come back to it easily using the bookmarks link in the top right

bookmarks

The middle icon enables you to write notes for yourself, maybe ways that you can use the information or maybe comments about an awesome Italian.

Shoes

The last one is the way that you can make comments and engage us , the authors in conversation, ask questions, request clarification or wonder about Dutch data manglers

I think its down to PII

If you select a piece of text, another menu opens up

The first icon lets you highlight the text, to make it easier to find later

Hover over the highlight and you can choose different colours for different things.

or even create pretty pictures for Mathias

Mathias – Why isn’t he an MVP?

You can choose to annotate, which is sort of like highlighting and writing a note with the next icon

When you want to share a link to a particular part of the book with someone else, you can highlight part of it and click the link icon

It’s easy to start PowerShell as another user as long as you remember when to press SHIFT

Which will highlight the paragraph and open a dialogue at the bottom where you can create and copy the link.

By far the most important part for Chrissy and I is the last link. When you find something wrong you can mark it for our attention. Yes, even with Chrissy and I proof reading each others words, the fabulous proof reader Cláudio Silva (b | t) and awesome tech editor Mike Shepard (b | t)  as well as many community reviewers there are still, and will continue to be, issues. So when you find them, highlight them and click the right hand most link

with with more more than than one one

This will open up as shown so that you can fill in what was wrong (Please don’t report this error again Shane b | t has beaten you to it!)

You will have noticed on social media and elsewhere that we have left some easter eggs in the book

Whenever you find them or whenever you want to talk about the book on social media, please use the hashtag #dbatoolsMoL – you never know what goodies may end up in your inbox.

Oh and if you have got this far and don’t know what dbatools in a Month of Lunches is, listen to the hair and read more https://dbatools.io/meap/

PowerShell in SQL Notebooks in Azure Data Studio

I have done a lot of writing in the last few months but you see no blog posts! My wonderful friend Chrissy and I are writing “dbatools in a Month of Lunches” to be published by Manning. That has taken up a lot of my writing mojo. We have hit a little break whilst we have some reviews done ready for the MEAP (For everyone who asks, the answer is the unfulfilling ‘soon’) so it’s time for a blog post!

SQL Notebooks are cool

I have had a lot of fun with SQL Notebooks recently. I have presented a session about them at a couple of events this month DataGrillen and SQL Saturday Cork. Here is a little snippet

Yes, you can run PowerShell in a SQL Notebook in Azure Data Studio just by clicking a link in the markdown cell. This opens up a lot of excellent possibilities.

I have had several discussions about how SQL Notebooks can be used by SQL DBAs within their normal everyday roles. (Mainly because I don’t really understand what the sorcerers of data science do with notebooks!). I have helped clients to look at some of their processes and use SQL Notebooks to help with them. Creating Disaster Recovery or Change Run-books or Incident Response Templates or using them for product demonstrations. Of course, I needed to use PowerShell in that 🙂

I have really enjoyed working out how to run PowerShell in the markdown in a SQL Notebook in Azure Data Studio and I think Anthony the kubernetes magician did too!

OK enough magic puns lets talk about PowerShell in SQL Notebooks. You can read about how to create a SQL Notebook and run T-SQL queries here, (you no longer need the Insider Edition by the way)

PowerShell in Markdown!

First, before I go any further, I must say this. I was at the European PowerShell Conference when I was working this out and creating my sessions and I said the words

“Cool, I can click a link and run PowerShell, this is neat”

A Beardy fellow in Hannover

This stopped some red team friends of mine in their tracks and they said “Show me”. One of them was rubbing their hands with glee! You can imagine the sort of wicked, devious things that they were immediately considering doing.

Yes, it’s funny but also it carries a serious warning. Without understanding what it is doing, please don’t enable PowerShell to be run in a SQL Notebook that someone sent you in an email or you find on a GitHub. In the same way as you don’t open the word document attachment which will get a thousand million trillion pounddollars into your bank account or run code you copy from the internet on production without understanding what it does, this could be a very dangerous thing to do.

With that warning out of the way, there are loads of really useful and fantastic use cases for this. SQL Notebooks make great run-books or incident response recorders and PowerShell is an obvious tool for this. (If only we could save the PowerShell output in a SQL Notebook, this would be even better)

How on earth did you work this out?

Someone asked me how I worked it out. I didn’t! It began with Vicky Harp PM lead for the SQL Tools team at Microsoft

I then went and looked at Kevin Cunnane‘s notebook. Kevin is a member of the tools team working on Azure Data Studio. With SQL Notebooks, you can double click the markdown cell and see the code that is behind it. To understand how it is working, lets deviate a little.

Keyboard Shortcuts

IF you click the cog at the bottom left of Azure Data Studio and choose Keyboard Shortcuts

you can make Azure Data Studio (and Visual Studio Code) work exactly how you want it to. Typing in the top box will find a command and you can then set the shortcuts that you want to use to save yourself time.

This also enables you to see the command that is called when you use a keyboard shortcut. For example, you can see that for the focus terminal command it says workbench.action.terminal.focus.

It turns out that you can call this as a link in a Markdown document using HTML with <a href=""> and adding command: prior to the command text. When the link is clicked the command will run. Cool 🙂

For this to be able to work (you read the warning above?) you need to set the Notebook to be trusted by clicking this button.

This will allow any command to be run. Of course, people with beards will helpfully advise when this is required for a SQL Notebook. (Safe to say people attempting nefarious actions will try the same with your users)

Now that we know how to run an Azure Data Studio command using a link in a markdown cell the next step is to run a PowerShell command. I headed to the Visual Studio Code documentation and found

Send text from a keybinding
The workbench.action.terminal.sendSequence command can be used to send a specific sequence of text to the terminal, including escape sequence

That’s the command we need, however, we still need to craft the command so that it will work as a link. It needs to be converted into a URL.

I started by using this website https://www.url-encode-decode.com/ to do this. This is how you can check the code in other peoples notebook, use the decode capability.

Encoding Set-Location C:\dbachecks gives Set-Location+C%3A%5Cdbacheck`

So I can just put that code into the href link and bingo!

If only it was that easy!!

Some Replacing is required

The + needs to be replaced with a space or %20

You also need to double the \ and replace the %3A with a :
The " needs to be replaced with \u022, the ' with \u027, the curly braces won’t work unless you remove the %0D%0A. Got all that? Good!

Once you have written your PowerShell, encoded it, performed the replacements, you add \u000D at the end of the code to pass an enter to run the code and then place all of that into a link like this

<a href="command:workbench.action.terminal.sendSequence?%7B%22text%22%3A%22 PLACE THE ENCODED CODE HERE %22%7D">Link Text</a>

This means that if you want to add the PowerShell code to set a location and then list the files and folders in that location to a Markdown cell using PowerShell like this

Set-Location C:\dbachecks
Get-ChildItem

You would end up with a link like this

<a href="command:workbench.action.terminal.sendSequence?%7B%22text%22%3A%22 Set-Location C:%5C%5Cdbachecks \u000D Get-ChildItem \u000D %22%7D">Set Location and list files</a>

Doing something more than once?

I don’t want to remember that all of the time so I wrote a PowerShell function. You can find it on GitHub https://github.com/SQLDBAWithABeard/Functions/blob/master/Convert-ADSPowerShellForMarkdown.ps1

This will take a PowerShell command and turn it into a link that will work in an Azure Data Studio markdown. It’s not magic, it’s PowerShell. There is a –ToClipboard parameter which will copy the code to the clipboard ready for you to paste into the cell (On Windows machines only)

Giants

There are many uses for this but here’s one I think is cool.

The link below will go to a notebook, which will show how you the giants upon whose shoulders I stand

Glenn Berry,
Chrissy LeMaire,
André Kamman,
Gianluca Sartori

have enabled me to create a SQL Notebook with a link which will run some PowerShell to create a SQL Notebook which will have all of the Diagnostic Queries in it.

You could possibly use something like it for your incident response SQL Notebook.

It’s also cool that GitHub renders the notebook in a browser (You can’t run PowerShell or T-SQL from there though, you need Azure Data Studio!)

https://github.com/SQLDBAWithABeard/Presentations/blob/master/2019/Berlin%20SQL%20User%20Group/04%20-%20Glenn%20Berry%20Notebook.ipynb