Discovering objects: Get-Member in Visual Basic .NET

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Discovering objects: Get-Member
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If objects are like a giant table in memory, and PowerShell only ever shows you a portion of that table on the screen, how can you see what else you have to work with If you re thinking that you should use the Help command, then I m glad, because I ve certainly been pushing that down your throat in the previous few chapters! Unfortunately, you d be wrong. The help system only documents background concepts (in the form of the about help topics) and command syntax. To learn more about an object, you use a different command: Get-Member. You should become very comfortable using this command so much so, in fact, that you start looking for a shorter way to type it. I ll give you that right now: the alias Gm. You can use Gm after any cmdlet that normally produces some output. For example, you already know that running Get-Process produces some output on the screen. You can pipe it to Gm:
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Get-Process | Gm
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Whenever a cmdlet produces a collection of objects, as Get-Process does, the entire collection remains accessible until the end of the pipeline. It s not until every command has run that PowerShell filters down the columns of information that are to be displayed and creates the final text output that you see. Therefore, in the preceding example, Gm has complete access to all of the process objects properties and methods, because they haven t been filtered down for display yet. Gm looks at each object and constructs a list of the objects properties and methods. It looks a bit like this:
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Object attributes, or properties
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PS C:\> get-process | gm TypeName: System.Diagnostics.Process Name ---Handles Name NPM PM VM WS Disposed ErrorDataReceived Exited OutputDataReceived BeginErrorReadLine BeginOutputReadLine CancelErrorRead CancelOutputRead MemberType ---------AliasProperty AliasProperty AliasProperty AliasProperty AliasProperty AliasProperty Event Event Event Event Method Method Method Method Definition ---------Handles = Handlecount Name = ProcessName NPM = NonpagedSystemMemo... PM = PagedMemorySize VM = VirtualMemorySize WS = WorkingSet System.EventHandler Disp... System.Diagnostics.DataR... System.EventHandler Exit... System.Diagnostics.DataR... System.Void BeginErrorRe... System.Void BeginOutputR... System.Void CancelErrorR... System.Void CancelOutput...
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I ve trimmed the list a bit because it s pretty long, but hopefully you get the idea.
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TRY IT NOW Don t take my word for it. This is the perfect time to start follow-
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ing along and running the same commands that I do, so you can see their full and complete output. By the way, it may interest you to know that all of the properties, methods, and other things attached to an object are collectively called its members, as if the object itself were a country club and all of these properties and methods belonged to the club. That s where Get-Member takes its name from: it s getting a list of the objects members. Of course, because the PowerShell convention is to use singular nouns, the cmdlet name is Get-Member, not Get-Members.
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When you examine the output of Gm, you ll notice several different kinds of properties:
ScriptProperty Property NoteProperty AliasProperty
For your purposes, these are all the same. The only difference is how the values in those properties are obtained, but that s not something you need to worry about. To you, they re all properties, and you ll use them the same way. A property always contains a value. For example, the value of a process object s ID property might be 1234, and the Name property of that object might have a value of Notepad. Properties describe something about the object: its status, its ID, its name, and so on. In PowerShell, properties are often read-only, meaning that you can t
Objects: just data by another name
change the name of a service by assigning a new value to its Name property. You can, however, retrieve the name of a service by reading its Name property. Probably 90 percent of what you do in PowerShell will involve properties.
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