PowerShell In GUI Blog

PowerShell GUI Box Just In A Few Clicks

Hey, Scripting GUI! PowerShell wizard in a couple of minutes

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At the same time when many PowerShell glitteriti entertained the public at TechEd with some PowerShell tricks or new applications, we didn’t spend our time too. Today’s module is intended to help all who creates PowerShell scripts with conversion of these scripts to GUI tools.

Accordingly to Ravikanth’s survey results, the vast majority of scripts delivered to consumers or colleagues are wrapped into some GUI (the first chart). The second chart clearly shows that most respondents do it just because GUI tools are warmly accepted by consumers in opposite to bare commandline scripts, even with the richest system of parameters.

Discussing this topic further, we should conclude that the scriptwriting itself is not an easy work. Scripts need writing, debugging, testing, being more or less universal, its bugs should be found and fixed, in an ideal case. Traditionally, scripts are harder for us to debug than applications of compiled frameworks. The stranger seems the state of affairs that scripters are obliged to create forms in addition to their hard work.

At that point, we turn to the third chart to see that scripters prefer tools belonged to a big class called Rapid Application Development instruments, which includes Primal Forms, Visual Studio and SharpDevelop. Need to admit that a few chose WPK, a framework combining simplicity of its object model and complexity of commandline tools.

However, these RAD tools are not what does all the work instead of us. You need not only paint controls and write the behind code, what’s about doing something intricate like a wizard? Such non-standard in the PowerShell world tasks (which are common for a decade or more in the world of RAD) are laborious. RAD tools are often shipped with out-of-the-box templates allowing you to add some code without thinking how to make wizard’s panels rotating on the Next button clicking.

Templates! What is the answer to the problem! PowerShell scripters need templates.

The code below demonstrates how can the user modify a template aiming to construct a wizard. Please note, that

  • for now, this is only a concept having no actions. In other words, it’s only easily to play around with the template, but adding the real code is not easy yet
  • there is no Finish and Cancel buttons
  • there is no way to disable the Next or Back buttons
  • and other restrictions persist (Do I sugar the pills if I say that the graphical tool allowing you to paint a wizard in a few clicks is coming,? I’m planning to publish the module at the beginning of the next week or slightly later)
Set-StrictMode -Version 2
#region host preparations
if ($Host.Name -eq 'ConsoleHost')
	Add-Type -AssemblyName System.Windows.Forms;
	Add-Type -AssemblyName System.Drawing;
#endregion host preparations
#region the resulting wizard
	#region adjustable settings
		#region controls settings
		# Form size and caption
		[string]$script:constWizardInitialCaption = `
			'This is a sample wizard';
		[int]$script:constWizardWidth = `
			[System.Windows.Forms.SystemInformation]::VirtualScreen.Width / 2;
		[int]$script:constWizardHeight = `
			[System.Windows.Forms.SystemInformation]::VirtualScreen.Height / 2;
		# Buttons Next, Back
		[int]$script:constButtonHeight = 23;
		[int]$script:constButtonWidth = 75;
		[int]$script:constButtonAreaHeight = `
			$script:constButtonHeight * 2;
		[string]$script:constButtonNextName = '&Next';
		[string]$script:constButtonBackName = '&Back';
		# Step display name and description
		[int]$script:constLabelStepDisplayNameLeft = 5;
		[int]$script:constLabelStepDisplayNameTop = 0;
		[float]$script:constLabelStepDisplayNameFontSize = 16;
		[int]$script:constLabelStepDescriptionLeft = 5;
		[int]$script:constLabelStepDescriptionTop = 30;
		# Form properties
		[bool]$script:constWizardRigthToLeft = $false;
		# Initial step number
		[int]$script:currentStep = 0;
		#endregion controls settings
	#endregion adjustable settings
	#region mandatory settings
		#region Initialization of the SplitContainer controls
		# The outer split container
		[System.Windows.Forms.SplitContainer]$script:splitOuter = `
			New-Object System.Windows.Forms.SplitContainer;
			$script:splitOuter.Dock = [System.Windows.Forms.DockStyle]::Fill;
			$script:splitOuter.IsSplitterFixed = $true;
			$script:splitOuter.Orientation = `
			$script:splitOuter.SplitterWidth = 5;
		# The inner split container
		[System.Windows.Forms.SplitContainer]$script:splitInner = `
			New-Object System.Windows.Forms.SplitContainer;
			$script:splitInner.Dock = [System.Windows.Forms.DockStyle]::Fill;
			$script:splitInner.IsSplitterFixed = $true;
			$script:splitInner.Orientation = `
			$script:splitInner.SplitterWidth = 5;
		# The labels for the curent step name and description
		[System.Windows.Forms.Label]$script:lblStepDisplayName = `
			New-Object System.Windows.Forms.Label;
			$script:lblStepDisplayName.Left = `
			$script:lblStepDisplayName.Top = `
			[System.Drawing.Font]$private:font = `
			$private:font = `
				New-Object System.Drawing.Font($private:font.Name, `
						$script:constLabelStepDisplayNameFontsize, `
			            $private:font.Style, $private:font.Unit, `
			            $private:font.GdiCharSet, $private:font.GdiVerticalFont );
			$script:lblStepDisplayName.Font = $private:font;
		[System.Windows.Forms.Label]$script:lblStepDescription = `
			New-Object System.Windows.Forms.Label;
			$script:lblStepDescription.Left = `
			$script:lblStepDescription.Top = `
		$script:splitInner.Panel1.Controls.AddRange(($script:lblStepDisplayName, `
		#endregion Initialization of the SplitContainer controls
		#region the Next and Back buttons
		[System.Windows.Forms.Button]$script:btnNext = `
			New-Object System.Windows.Forms.Button;
		$script:btnNext.Anchor = [System.Windows.Forms.AnchorStyles]::Bottom -bor `
			[System.Windows.Forms.AnchorStyles]::Right -bor `
		$script:btnNext.Text = $script:constButtonNextName;
		[System.Windows.Forms.Button]$script:btnBack = `
			New-Object System.Windows.Forms.Button;
		$script:btnBack.Anchor = [System.Windows.Forms.AnchorStyles]::Bottom -bor `
			[System.Windows.Forms.AnchorStyles]::Right -bor `
		$script:btnBack.Text = $script:constButtonBackName;
	    $script:btnBack.Enabled = $false;
		$script:splitOuter.Panel2.Controls.AddRange(($script:btnBack, $script:btnNext));
		#endregion the Next and Back buttons
		#region Initialization of the main form
		$script:frmWizard = $null;
		[System.Windows.Forms.Form]$script:frmWizard = `
			New-Object System.Windows.Forms.Form;

		if ($script:constWizardRigthToLeft)
			$script:frmWizard.RightToLeft = `
			$script:frmWizard.RightToLeftLayout = $true;
			$script:frmWizard.RightToLeft = `
			$script:frmWizard.RightToLeftLayout = $false;
		$script:frmWizard.Text = $script:constWizardInitialCaption;
		#endregion Initialization of the main form
	#endregion mandatory settings
	#region the Wizard steps
	[System.Collections.ArrayList]$script:wzdSteps = `
		New-Object System.Collections.ArrayList;
		# Here we create an 'enumeration' (PSObject)
		# and begin filling ArrayList $script:wzdSteps with Panel controls
		[System.EventHandler]$script:hndlRunControlsAdd = `
			{try{$script:splitInner.Panel2.Controls.Add($script:wzdSteps[$script:currentStep]);}catch{Write-Debug $Error[0]; Write-Debug $global:Error[0];}};
			#region function New-WizardStep
		function New-WizardStep
				  [string]$StepDescription = ''
			# Storing parameters in step arrays
			Add-Member -InputObject $script:steps -MemberType NoteProperty `
				-Name $StepName -Value $script:wzdSteps.Count;
			$null = $script:stepDisplayNames.Add($StepDisplayName);
			$null = $script:stepDescriptions.Add($StepDescription);
			# Create and add the new step's panel to the array
			[System.Windows.Forms.Panel]$private:panel = `
				New-Object System.Windows.Forms.Panel;
			$null = $script:wzdSteps.Add($private:panel);
			$script:currentStep = $script:wzdSteps.Count - 1;


			$script:wzdSteps[$script:currentStep].Dock = `
			# To restore initial state for this code running before the user accesses the wizard.
			$script:currentStep = 0;
			#endregion function New-WizardStep
			#region function Add-ControlToStep
		function Add-ControlToStep
			$private:ctrl = $null;
				$private:ctrl = New-Object $ControlType;
			}catch{Write-Error "Unable to create a control of $($ControlType) type";}
				$private:ctrl.Name = $ControlName;
			}catch{Write-Error "Unable to set the Name property with value $($ControlName) to a control of the $($ControlType) type";}
				$private:ctrl.Top = $ControlTop;
			}catch{Write-Error "Unable to set the Top property with value $($ControlTop) to a control of the $($ControlType) type";}
				$private:ctrl.Left = $ControlLeft;
			}catch{Write-Error "Unable to set the Left property with value $($ControlLeft) to a control of the $($ControlType) type";}
				$private:ctrl.Height = $ControlHeight;
			}catch{Write-Error "Unable to set the Height property with value $($ControlHeight) to a control of the $($ControlType) type";}
				$private:ctrl.Width = $ControlWidth;
			}catch{Write-Error "Unable to set the Width property with value $($ControlWidth) to a control of the $($ControlType) type";}
				$private:ctrl.Text = $ControlData;
			}catch{Write-Error "Unable to set the Text property with value $($ControlData) to a control of the $($ControlType) type";}
			}catch{Write-Error "Unable to add a control of $($ControlType) type to the step $($StepNumber)";}
			#endregion function Add-ControlToStep
		# Step data arrays
		[psobject]$script:steps = New-Object psobject;
		[System.Collections.ArrayList]$script:stepDisplayNames = `
			New-Object System.Collections.ArrayList;
		[System.Collections.ArrayList]$script:stepDescriptions = `
			New-Object System.Collections.ArrayList;
	#endregion the Wizard steps
	#region events of the wizard controls
		#region resizing
			#region function Initialize-WizardControls
	function Initialize-WizardControls
			The Initialize-WizardControls function sets the wizard common controls to predefined positions.

			The Initialize-WizardControls function does the following:
			- sets Top, Left, Width and Height properties of the wizard buttons
			- positions of the step labels
			- sets the SplitterDistance property of both Splitcontainer controls

			PS C:\> Initialize-WizardControls
			This example shows how to step the wizard forward.

			No input

			No output
		# Set sizes of buttons
		$script:btnNext.Height = $script:constButtonHeight;
		$script:btnNext.Width = $script:constButtonWidth;
		$script:btnBack.Height = $script:constButtonHeight;
		$script:btnBack.Width = $script:constButtonWidth;
		# SplitterDistance of the outer split container
		# in other words, the area where Next and Back buttons are placed
		$script:splitOuter.SplitterDistance = `
			$script:splitOuter.Height - `
		#if ($script:splitOuter.SplitterDistance -lt 0)
		#{$script:splitOuter.SplitterDistance = 10;}
		#$script:splitOuter.SplitterDistance = `
		#	$script:splitOuter.Height - `
		#	$script:constButtonAreaHeight;

		# Placements of the buttons
		if ($script:constWizardRigthToLeft)
			$script:btnNext.Left = 10;
			$script:btnBack.Left = $script:constButtonWidth + 20;
			$script:btnNext.Left = $script:splitOuter.Width - `
				$script:constButtonWidth - 10;
			$script:btnBack.Left = $script:splitOuter.Width - `
				$script:constButtonWidth - `
				$script:constButtonWidth - 20;
		$script:btnNext.Top = `
			($script:constButtonAreaHeight - $script:constButtonHeight) / 2;
		$script:btnBack.Top = `
				($script:constButtonAreaHeight - $script:constButtonHeight) / 2;

		# SplitterDistance of the inner split container
		# this is the place where step name is placed
		$script:splitInner.SplitterDistance = `
			$script:constButtonAreaHeight * 1.5;
			#$script:splitOuter.Panel2.Height * 1.5;
		#if ($script:splitInner.SplitterDistance -lt 0)
		#{$script:splitInner.SplitterDistance = 10;}

		# Step Display Name and Description labels
		$script:lblStepDisplayName.Width = `
			$script:splitInner.Panel1.Width - `
			$script:constLabelStepDisplayNameLeft * 2;
		$script:lblStepDescription.Width = `
			$script:splitInner.Panel1.Width - `
			$script:constLabelStepDescriptionLeft * 2;

		# Refresh after we have changed placements of the controls
			#endregion function Initialize-WizardControls
	[System.EventHandler]$script:hndlFormResize = {Initialize-WizardControls;}
	[System.EventHandler]$script:hndlFormLoad = {Initialize-WizardControls;}
	#[System.Windows.Forms.MouseEventHandler]$script:hndlSplitMouseMove = `
	#	{Initialize-WizardControls;}
	# Initial arrange on Load form.
		#endregion resizing
		#region steps
			#region function Invoke-WizardStep
	function Invoke-WizardStep
			The Invoke-WizardStep function sets active panel on the wizard form.

			The Invoke-WizardStep function does the following:
			- changes internal variable $script:currentStep
			- sets/resets .Enabled property of btnNext and btnBack
			- changes .Dock and .Left properties of every panel

		.PARAMETER  Forward
			The optional parameter Forward is used to point out the direction the wizard goes.

			PS C:\> Invoke-WizardStep -Forward $true
			This example shows how to step the wizard forward.


			No output
			  [bool]$Forward = $true
		if ($Forward)
			$script:btnBack.Enabled = $true;
			if ($script:currentStep -lt ($script:wzdSteps.Count - 1))
			if ($script:currentStep -lt ($script:wzdSteps.Count - 1))
			{$script:btnNext.Enabled = $true;}
			{$script:btnNext.Enabled = $false;}
			$script:btnNext.Enabled = $true;
			if ($script:currentStep -gt 0)
			if ($script:currentStep -gt 0)
			{$script:btnBack.Enabled = $true;}
			{$script:btnBack.Enabled = $false;}
		for($private:i = 0; $private:i -lt $script:wzdSteps.Count;
			if ($private:i -ne $script:currentStep)
				$script:wzdSteps[$private:i].Dock = `
				$script:wzdSteps[$private:i].Left = 10000;
				$script:wzdSteps[$private:i].Dock = `
				$script:wzdSteps[$private:i].Left = 0;
		$script:lblStepDisplayName.Text = `
		$script:lblStepDescription.Text = `
			#endregion function Invoke-WizardStep
			#region function Initialize-WizardStep
	function Initialize-WizardStep
	# This is the selfsufficient function doing all the necessary
	# calculations for controls on each panel.
	# Also from the code can be seen how to address the panel you are interesting in
	# using the 'enumeration' created earlier
	# for example, $script:wzdSteps[$script:steps.Welcome]
		$script:lblStepDisplayName.Text = `
		$script:lblStepDescription.Text = `
			#endregion function Initialize-WizardStep
	[System.EventHandler]$hndlStepForward = {
		# serve controls' data
		# switch panels
		Invoke-WizardStep $true;
	[System.EventHandler]$hndlStepBack = {
		# switch panels
		Invoke-WizardStep $false;
		#endregion steps
	#endregion events of the wizard controls
	#region wizard initialization
		#region function Initialize-Wizard
	function Initialize-Wizard
	# This is one more selfsufficient function written to make
	# the latest preparations for the form run
		#region control settings
		$script:frmWizard.Width = $script:constWizardWidth;
		$script:frmWizard.Height = $script:constWizardHeight;
		#endregion control settings
		#endregion function Initialize-Wizard
	#endregion wizard initialization
#endregion the resulting wizard

		# Step 1: Welcome
		New-WizardStep 'Welcome' 'This is the first step' 'Welcome to the PowerShell Wizard, the our dear customer!';
		# Add a label
		# Please note that we can use the enumeration $steps which is being created runtime
		# on a call of the New-WizardStep function
		Add-ControlToStep $steps.Welcome System.Windows.Forms.Label 'lblWelcome' 20 10 50 300 'This Wizard carries you through the steps you need to collect the files from a given path';

		# Step 2
		New-WizardStep 'Input' 'Step Two' 'Here you type some in controls, plz';
		# Add a label
		Add-ControlToStep $steps.Input System.Windows.Forms.Label 'lblInput' 20 10 20 300 'Please type the path to a catalog';
		# Add a text box
		Add-ControlToStep $steps.Input System.Windows.Forms.TextBox 'txtInput' 40 10 20 300

		# Unfortunately, there is no way right now to test the user input with ease
		# So we can disable the Next button manually (to be improved soon)
		# this code works wrong:
		#if ($wzdSteps[$steps.Input].Controls['txtInput'].Text.Length -eq 0)
		#	$btnNext.Enabled = $false;
		#	$btnNext.Enabled = $true;

		# Step 3
		New-WizardStep 'Progress' 'The third one' 'Wait, please. Sip a coffee' ;
		# Add a progress bar
		Add-ControlToStep $steps.Progress 'System.Windows.Forms.ProgressBar' 'pbDir' 200 50 100 400

		# Step 4
		New-WizardStep 'Output' 'Fourth' 'Now awake and read the output';
		# Add a list box
		Add-ControlToStep $steps.Output System.Windows.Forms.ListBox lbxFiles 50 50 300 400

		# Step 5: Finish
        New-WizardStep 'Finish' 'Finish!' 'Bye!';

		# Set the second step as active
		Invoke-WizardStep -Forward $true;

		$script:frmWizard.ShowDialog() | Out-Null;

Sorry for such a long output! The same code attached here.


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  1. […] posting the wizard sample, I thought – why don’t finish it today? I […]

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