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Working with COM requires creating instances of COM objects. As with .NET objects, this is done with the New-Object cmdlet, but this time you have to specify the -ComObject parameter. The signature of New-Object is different when creating COM objects. See figure 12.1. We can t specify any arguments when constructing the object, and then there s the -strict switch. This switch tells the cmdlet to generate an error if a .NET/ COM Interop library is loaded. This is an important feature because of the way object adaptation works in PowerShell. This is complicated, so let s go through it in pieces. In chapter 3, we talked about how PowerShell adapts different types of objects. COM objects are one of types that are adapted. The form that this adaptation takes, however, is affected by the presence or absence of a COM Interop library. In effect,
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Require that the COM object be returned instead of the interop assembly
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The ProgID of the object to create
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[-ComObject ] <String >
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the Interop library is .NET s adaptation layer for COM. The PowerShell adapter will project a different view of the COM object depending upon whether there is an Interop library available. For a specific COM object on a specific machine, there may or may not be an Interop library. Consequently, if we write scripts assuming that there is no Interop library and it turns out that there is one, our script may break because the data model is different. By specifying the -strict parameter, we can detect this condition. Once we know what is happening, we can decide whether we want to fail or whether we want to continue, but along a different code path. This is something to keep in mind when writing a script that uses COM that you plan to deploy on other machines. We ll discuss this more later in the chapter. As far as PowerShell is concerned, COM objects are identified by something called the ProgID. This is a string alias that is provided when the class is registered on the system. This is the most human-friendly way of identifying the object. By convention, the ProgID has the form:
<Program>.<Component>.<Version>
and, per the MSDN documentation, should be less than 39 characters in length.
AUTHOR S NOTE
While this format is the recommended presentation, there is no real way to enforce it, resulting in some interesting interpretations for what each of the elements actually means. Generally, it seems in practice that <Program> is the application suite, toolset, or vendor which installs it; <component> is actually the COM class name; and the version number is normally not used in calls, although it may exist in even a multipart form. Thus, even as wshom.ocx has been extended, it has retained the versioned form WScript.Shell.1, but is almost always used in script as just WScript.Shell; and the XML DOM is exposed as Msxml2.DOMDocument with a .2.6, .4.0, .6.0 suffix and so on, but is always instantiated as Msxml2.DOMDocument.
COM objects are registered in (where else ) the registry. This means that we can use the registry provider to search for ProgIDs from PowerShell. Here s a function we ll call Get-ProgID that will do it:
function Get-ProgID { param ($filter = '.') $ClsIdPath = "REGISTRY::HKey_Classes_Root\clsid\*\progid" dir $ClsIdPath | % {if ($_.name -match '\\ProgID$') { $_.GetValue("") }} | {$_ -match $filter} }
This searches through the registry starting at the classes root, where COM objects are registered for keys whose paths end in ProgID . From the keys, we retrieve the
WINDOWS OBJECTS: COM AND WMI
default property, which contains the name string of the ProgID. We check this string against the filter and, it if matches, write it to the output stream. Let s try it out. We want to find the ProgID for Internet Explorer.
PS (1) > Get-ProgID internetexplorer InternetExplorer.Application.1
And there it is: InternetExplorer.Application.1. As described previously, the program is InternetExplorer and the component in this case is the actual Internet Explorer application. We can use this same pattern to find the automation interfaces for other applications. Let s look for Microsoft Word.
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