Tag Archives: Html

Rich formatting for PowerShell help

[updated] Ok, I just updated this with a new post on PoshCode. I posted the HtmlHelp module to PoshCode for generating HTML web pages based on the help for functions or cmdlets. It basically has one command: Get-HtmlHelp, which takes a couple of parameters now. The only mandatory parameter is the name of the command you want help for, in this case the html is output on the pipeline and can be redirected into a file.

Get-HtmlHelp Get-HtmlHelp | Set-Content Get-HtmlHelp.html

The markup generated is (I hope) reasonable and lightweight, with some simple css rules pre-applied. Feel free to customize the script to generate help however you like.

[new] Generating many at once

I forgot to mention the other parameters on Get-HtmlHelp. They’re pretty cool, because if you want to upload your help you can do so with this. Say you created a module, and you wanted to generate all the help into files for uploading. You want to set the -BaseUrl to the location you will upload them to, and then use the -OutputFolder parameter to generate an html file for each command into the specified folder:

Get-Command -Module ModuleName |
Get-HtmlHelp -BaseUrl http://HuddledMasses.org/HtmlHelp/ -OutputFolder ~\sites\HuddledMasses\HtmlHelp\

Now you can just take those files and upload them to the right spot on your website. I actually have some scripts which I can wrap around this to post the help to a wiki, but you’re just going to have to wait for that until the next time I get inspired to work on help …


I did include a little function in the comments and in the help for Get-HtmlHelp which uses ShowUI to display the rich formatted help in a popup window:

function Show-Help {
   Window { WebBrowser -Name wb } -On_Loaded {
      $wb.NavigateToString((Get-HtmlHelp $Name))
      $this.Title = "Get-Help $Name"
   } -Show

So anyway, enough of that. When you run it, it looks like this (click for the full screenshot):

Click to see full screen-shot

Converting HTML to XML in PowerShell

I’ll write up more information later, but a couple people have asked for this in #PowerShell on irc.freenode.net, and I had it already written, so here you go … my ConvertFrom-Html cmdlet (in a Huddled.HtmlSnapin). It converts HTML to valid xml using the SGML Parser which was available on GotDotNet years ago. It only works with files (doesn’t do URL downloads yet). Use it like this:

$url = "http://huddledmasses.org/"
$file = Join-Path $pwd "HuddledMasses.html"

$client = new-object System.Net.WebClient
$client.DownloadFile( $url, $file ) #NOTE: You need to use a full path here, not relative

$xml = ConvertFrom-Html $file

# Or even
(ConvertFrom-Html $file).Save($file)

The source code to my plugin may be considered public domain, and is included in the Huddled HTML SnapIn Zip.

However, the SgmlReader library is a Microsoft Sample which is licensed under the old MS Samples license which doesn’t allow reuse with viral open source software. I’ve seen some work being done on an HtmlAgilityPack on CodePlex (using a Creative Commons ASA license) but I have not really looked at it except to see that it has a several active issues related to entity encoding and dropping malformed tags which I haven’t encountered in SgmlReader …

The SGMLReader library has been re-released on MSDN Code Gallery under an Ms-PL license, and all is well with the world. :D