PowerShell Modules – How to create Aliases for my functions?

There’s tons of information about PowerShell Modules on the internet.  Then I realized, in my PowerShell Modules, How do I create Aliases for my functions?  I couldn’t find any information on the internet about Aliases in modules.  So, thanks to Ed Wilson (Microsoft Script Center), he gave me a hint in one of his articles: http://blogs.technet.com/b/heyscriptingguy/archive/2010/02/21/hey-scripting-guy-february-21-2010.aspx

I’m assuming you already know how to create a module *psm1 file. Well, don’t worry!  The following sample script will get you started.  And, if you want to convert a PowerShell script to a Module file, is as simple as copy the *ps1 to *psm1 file.  Basically, that’s it!!

So, before I created my module file, I first created a PowerShell script “HelloWorld.ps1” which contains the following code:

## NAME: HelloWorld.ps1
Function Show-HelloWorld {
 [CmdletBinding()]
   Param($arg)
           Write-Host "Hello World!!.." $arg
};Set-Alias shw Show-HelloWorld -Description "Sample Hello World in module"

After verifying that my function works, then I copy/rename my PowerShell script to PowerShell module file “HelloWorld.psm1” and saved it in my new module folder name “HelloWorld”.

Now, here’s what I found when creating my Aliases for my module:

  1. In the *psm1 file, I could use either: Set-Alias or New-Alias but not both when buidling my manifest.  One catch, I discovered, if I use the ‘-Description’ parameter in either Cmdlets, the function description won’t load with the module.  (its a possible bug)
  2. The last line in the *psm1 file need to have the Cmdlet “Export-ModuleMember” (a shown below) to include the Aliases.
  3. I think is a good practice to named you PS Module script the same way your Module folder.
  4. Create the Module folder name and place the module *psm1 file in it.

Here’s sample script code:

## PS Module Name: HelloWorld.psm1
Function Show-HelloWorld {
 [CmdletBinding()]
   Param($arg)    ?
   Write-Host "Hello World!!.." $arg
};
#– Set-Alias will work but can’t be New-Alias
#Set-Alias shw Show-HelloWorld -Description "Sample Hello World in module"
New-Alias -Name shw -value Show-HelloWorld -Description "Sample Hello World in module"

#– Need to be included at the end of your *psm1 file.
export-modulemember -alias * -function *

Now, we need to create our new module folder under our users documents “..\WindowsPowerShell\Modules” called “HelloWorld”.   Using our PowerShell console, we need to create our PowerShell manifest *psd1 file using the following line and pressing enter to all other prompts:

New-ModuleManifest -Path ‘C:\Users\YourName\Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Modules\HelloWorld\HelloWorld.psd1’ -ModuleToProcess ‘C:\Users\YourName\Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Modules\HelloWorld\HelloWorld.psm1’
PS C:\Users\Max> New-ModuleManifest -Path ‘C:\Users\max\Documents\Win…
‘ -ModuleToProcess ‘C:\Users\max\Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Modules\…

cmdlet New-ModuleManifest at command pipeline position 1
Supply values for the following parameters:
NestedModules[0]:
Author:
CompanyName:
Copyright:
Description:
TypesToProcess[0]:
FormatsToProcess[0]:
RequiredAssemblies[0]:
FileList[0]:

Keep in mind, to start using New-ModuleManifest, you only need to use two parameters: “-path” – location to store your manifest file and “-ModuleToProcess” – location of your module file.

Don’t be afraid to skip the prompts, you can always go back into your recently build manifest file *psd1 and manually filled the information.  After successfully running the “New-ModuleManifest” and created the manifest file “HelloWorld.psd1”, I can proceed to load our new module using “Import-Module HelloWorld”.  If there were any errors, I would need to go back to file my *psm1 module file.

I’m are ready to test the new “HelloWorld” module executing the “Import-Module HelloWorld” im the PowerShell Console:

Windows PowerShell
Copyright (C) 2009 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

PS C:\Users\Max> New-ModuleManifest -Path 'C:\Users\max\Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Modules\HelloWorld\HelloWorld.psd1'
-ModuleToProcess 'C:\Users\max\Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Modules\HelloWorld\HelloWorld.psm1'

cmdlet New-ModuleManifest at command pipeline position 1
Supply values for the following parameters:
NestedModules[0]:
Author:
CompanyName:
Copyright:
Description:
TypesToProcess[0]:
FormatsToProcess[0]:
RequiredAssemblies[0]:
FileList[0]:
PS C:\Users\Max>
PS C:\Users\Max> Import-Module HelloWorld
PS C:\Users\Max> Get-Alias Shw

CommandType     Name                                                Definition
-----------     ----                                                ----------
Alias           shw                                                 Show-HelloWorld

PS C:\Users\Max> shw
Hello World!!..
PS C:\Users\Max> shw Max
Hello World!!.. Max
PS C:\Users\Max>

Now, I can either use my new Cmdlet function “Show-HelloWorld” or just use the Alias “shw” to execute my function.  That’s it!!  I’ve just created, loaded and tested a new module in our PowerShell Console.  There’s room to grow here!! 

Remember, Don’t TAP OUT!!  Happy PowerShelling!!