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Microsoft Readies PowerShell 7 for January 2020 Release

PowerShell 7 is slated to become generally available sometime in January, Microsoft announced recently.

That release also will represent the scripting language's "first Long Term Servicing release," according to Steve Lee, a principal software engineer manager for PowerShell at Microsoft. The "long-term servicing" term is likely a familiar one, mostly for Windows 10 users, where it represents a slower product-release approach by Microsoft.

Lee's announcement was describing PowerShell 7 Preview 5, the latest test release of the product, which is now available. He suggested that there will be one more preview release of PowerShell 7 coming in November. A "release candidate" version of PowerShell 7 is expected to arrive in December, and it'll be "aligned with the .NET Core 3.1 final release," he added.

Product Consolidations
Microsoft released .NET Core 3.0 back in September, but it ultimately will get consolidated. Microsoft has broader plans to create one unified .NET development platform, which will be called ".NET 5." This unified .NET 5 platform is expected to appear sometime in November 2020.

PowerShell 7 itself is a consolidation of sorts. It's aimed at replacing current Windows PowerShell 5.1 and PowerShell Core 6.x products, for instance. Microsoft has been working to ensure module compatibility with these past products in developing the PowerShell 7 product.

The long-term servicing release of PowerShell 7, when available, likely won't be similar in timing to its Windows 10 long-term servicing channel cousin, and that's because PowerShell 7 likely will adhere to the Microsoft Modern Lifecycle policy. Based on the update schedule for PowerShell Core, which follows the Microsoft Modern Lifecycle, what that likely means is that a long-term servicing release of PowerShell 7 will require moving to a new "channel" release every six months. In addition, patches will need to get applied within 30 days. Otherwise, organizations will cease to get future upgrades and patches from Microsoft, according to this policy.

New Features
Lee described a few of the new features in PowerShell 7 Preview 5. It has a new Pipeline Chain Operators feature, which "allow conditional execution of commands depending on whether the previous command succeeded or failed." Pipeline Chain Operators can be used instead of "If" statements, he explained.

There's also a new null assignment operator ("$null") in PowerShell 7 Preview 5. It can be used to check if a variable or property is null or not. It's a substitute approach to using "If" and "Else" statements.

Another addition in PowerShell 7 Preview 5 is the ability to "use tab completion on variable assignment." A new Get-Error commandlet shows rich information about errors in code.

Microsoft also brought back the Get-HotFix commandlet in PowerShell 7 Preview 5. It'll show installed patches.

A coming feature, expected to appear in PowerShell 7 Preview 6, will pop up a notice at startup if users are on an old PowerShell version, according to Lee. PowerShell 7 Preview 6 could be the version to show up in the Microsoft Store instead of the GitHub code repository, he added, in a Twitter post.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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