Managing PowerShell across an organization can be difficult. ScriptRunner Portal Edition R1 is a PowerShell management platform with a new web portal for PowerShell script administration.

Managing PowerShell scripts across an organization can present many challenges, including auditing, lifecycle management, security, etc. ScriptRunner is a solution that helps organizations solve these PowerShell management challenges. Many new features are included in the latest release, ScriptRunner Portal Edition R1, which continues to enhance its ability to manage PowerShell in the enterprise.

ScriptRunner Portal Edition R1: improvements ^

ScriptRunner Portal Edition R1 is the newest release from ScriptRunner. It offers dramatic improvements to the platform in general and many new features of note. One of the first noticeable improvements is the installation process of Portal Edition R1. ScriptRunner with Portal Edition R1 has completely replaced the previous Web Apps deployment. It is a welcome improvement that leads to a single executable installer instead of the previous separate installers. As a result, the deployment of the new ScriptRunner is simplified.

The new installation is a byproduct of ScriptRunner's migration from its previous "old web apps" architecture to a new role-based ScriptRunner web portal.

The comparison below looks at a previous build of ScriptRunner, covered in our last review of features, and the current Portal Edition R1. When the installation package of the previous build was unzipped, it contained multiple installation files.

2020PS7 Edition Build 6.0.365.0 installation components

2020PS7 Edition Build 6.0.365.0 installation components

With ScriptRunner Portal Edition R1, there is a single installer along with the documentation.

ScriptRunner Portal Edition R1 installation components

ScriptRunner Portal Edition R1 installation components

Aside from the simplified installation, ScriptRunner Portal Edition R1 has added many features to the web interface and offers enhanced capabilities for interacting with PowerShell from the ScriptRunner web UI. New features include:

  • New integrated script editor
    • View, modify, and save scripts directly in the script library
    • Controlled access with checkout and checkin of scripts
  • Versioning of scripts and comparison of versions
    • Restore versions
  • Import custom scripts and ScriptRunner ActionPack scripts
  • Development of new scripts with templates

Let's take a closer look at these.

New integrated script editor ^

One of the nice features in the new Script Portal Edition R1 web dashboard is the integrated script editor. The script editor is located in the scripts section of the ScriptRunner Portal. Click a script, and then click the Code tab.

The code tab displays the integrated script editor

The code tab displays the integrated script editor

The integrated script editor brings the code up in a very IDE-like window with many great features, such as syntax highlighting and code completion. Initially, the script is in view-only mode on the Code tab. Clicking the "lightbulb" icon in the upper right of the code view toggles the dark mode view.

Viewing a script in the integrated script editor

Viewing a script in the integrated script editor

The benefits of ScriptRunner can easily be seen when multiple technicians use PowerShell scripts. Scripts can be "checked out" properly through the ScriptRunner integrated script editor screen. The checkout process allows the scripts to be properly versioned, compared, and even restored to previous versions, as we will see. This is a great feature for collaborating with others who are running and editing the same scripts.

Ability to check out a script for editing in the integrated script editor

Ability to check out a script for editing in the integrated script editor

After you've made changes, checking in the script presents a commit dialog that enables entering a commit description.

Committing a change to the PowerShell script using the integrated script editor

Committing a change to the PowerShell script using the integrated script editor

After entering the commit message, a new script version is created in the Change history tab. This feature helps to provide an audit trail and track changes as different team members modify scripts.

Versioning scripts and comparing and restoring versions ^

The checkin and checkout processes included with the new integrated script editor allow effective versioning of your scripts and the ability to compare different versions of scripts to see the changes that have been made.

Comparing changes made between PowerShell script versions in ScriptRunner

Comparing changes made between PowerShell script versions in ScriptRunner

You can restore a previous version of a script and revert earlier changes, if needed.

Restore a previous version of a PowerShell script

Restore a previous version of a PowerShell script

Import custom scripts and ScriptRunner ActionPack scripts ^

While ScriptRunner contains a wide range of built-in scripts and queries, most IT admins will want to write and use custom PowerShell scripts. With ScriptRunner Portal Edition R1, a new import wizard allows custom scripts to be imported easily through the web interface.

Importing a custom PowerShell script

Importing a custom PowerShell script

When you select the import option, it launches the import wizard, which allows dragging and dropping scripts in the interface. You can also click the ScriptRunner Action Packs button, which allows you to select scripts from the online ScriptRunner GitHub repository.

Drag and drop scripts and ScriptRunner action packs

Drag and drop scripts and ScriptRunner action packs

After clicking the ScriptRunner Action Packs button, you can choose from a wide range of available categories and scripts.

Downloading scripts from the online ScriptRunner GitHub repository

Downloading scripts from the online ScriptRunner GitHub repository

Development of new scripts with templates ^

Templates are a way to save time when creating customized scripts in ScriptRunner. Using a template when creating a new script allows starting with the script's framework so that you can just fill in the rest. So, it offers a shortcut for creating a new PowerShell script for use in your environment.

There are four sample script templates listed in ScriptRunner for creating a new script:

  • LibraryTemplate
  • QueryTemplate
  • QueryTemplateSplatting
  • Template (generic)
Creating a new script from a template in ScriptRunner

Creating a new script from a template in ScriptRunner

Further enhancements ^

ScriptRunner has made many other enhancements throughout the solution, with enhanced workflows and additional settings throughout the app. In addition, the second ScriptRunner Portal Edition, R2, is slated for release in September of this year and will cover additional configuration elements and multi-backend capabilities.

Final thoughts ^

While PowerShell scripting is a great way to automate tasks throughout an organization, managing the scripts, security, RBAC, and versioning can become a nightmare when left to manual means. ScriptRunner provides a robust solution that manages PowerShell scripts throughout the organization, allowing them to be run in a much more structured way and even be delegated to non-technical employees.

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I found the new ScriptRunner Portal Edition R1 to be a worthy upgrade to the previous version reviewed. The installation process has dramatically improved. Along with the new features in the web interface that allow editing and checking code in and out of the solution, ScriptRunner Portal Edition R1 is a great solution to manage, configure, delegate, and run PowerShell code in the enterprise environment.

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