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Part 2 – Getting Started With CSOM | SharePoint Online | PowerShell


In our last blog post (Part 1) we have show cased two functions which allows us to connect to SharePoint Online and retrieves list information from the site collections. Now, we will create a small PowerShell module with help.

About Modules

To learn about PowerShell Modules refer this link. We will be focusing about Script Module! Which is easy to understand and to troubleshoot as well. A script Module is nothing but valid script saved as .psm1 file and it has a structure to save. For our demo, we will save the PowerShell module is User Module path i.e “C:\Users\ChenV\Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Modules\SPOnlineModule” in which SPOnlineModule is the folder which contains .PSM1, .PSD1 file and required DLL’s. Ensure the psm1 and psd1 files are also named as SPOnlineModule.

Specific User

This is the location for installing modules for specific user “$home\Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Modules\

For All Users

This is the location for installing modules for all users “$EnvProgramFiles\WindowsPowerShell\Modules\”

Creating Modules

It’s very simple to create module but before distributing it ensure you have done the below

  • Test the Module
  • Include PowerShell Version
  • Create a Proper psd1 file
  • Include all required assemblies (In our case it’s required)
  • Include Help Files (This blog post will cover this!)
  • Create a Custom View for the Output

PSD1 File

This is psd1 file for the two functions we created named “Connect-xSPOTenant” and Get-xSPOList. I have moved all the SharePoint Online CSOM SDK Assemblies to my module folder. Just to distribute it to my clients and they don’t need to install the package. I have included the required dll in NestedModule Section.

PSM1 File

We haven’t added help / comments or display view for the functions. All we did is created the module with required files. The below code is my PowerShell .psm1 file which has only two functions as I mentioned earlier.

Take look at the folder contents inside my module folder – And remember we named it as SPOnlineModule
2016-05-24_16-28-30 It’s good to start! Let’s try to import the module and test the functionality so we can add the requirement components which makes our module rich and easy to use.

Fantastic, we can see the module loading successfully.
2016-05-24_16-32-01 always use Verbose switch to get information about the cmdlets we are loading to the session. Now, let’s see the available cmdlet by simply executing the below snippet

and the output is shown below
2016-05-24_16-34-35 let’s skip the functionality test because we did it in our previous blog (Part 1). So we will focus on help and custom view for output formatting in this blog post. If we run the below PowerShell code we get very basic information about the cmdlet.

Something like this
2016-05-24_16-38-45 Okay enough of theory, we just need to add comment based help for our function and PowerShell will take care of the rest. To do this in our psm1 file we will include the comment based help inside the PowerShell functions like shown below

Just by doing this we are adding more feature to our PowerShell module and makes others to read the help before using the module. Avoids many hindrances and break dependencies at work place. Any PowerShell folks can go through the code and understand it. So, now Connect-xSPOTenant looks like below

which now allows us to use help at ease.
2016-05-24_16-53-24 and examples like 34334

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