Windows PowerShell REST API: 3 Comprehensive Aspects

By: Published: October 8, 2021

Windows PowerShell is popularly used to automate tasks. Businesses and organizations use it to automate most of their system administration tasks. This makes the work of the IT professionals easier and relieves them from doing tasks repeatedly. It is also easy to write the Windows PowerShell commands and scripts. When using Windows PowerShell, you will want to extend its functionality. The reason is that it may not have the functionalities to help you perform some tasks. That’s why you may need to combine Windows PowerShell with REST APIs.

Combined use of Windows PowerShell REST APIs can be very beneficial to businesses. Businesses can create complex workflows to facilitate the flow of information. Businesses can also perform more tasks using Windows PowerShell. The good news is that there are many APIs available for you today. Every popular online service has an API to make it possible for developers to interact with their services without the need to navigate through a user interface. Most services provide REST APIs, which provide an industry-standard way of exposing data and information to the world. 

This article will introduce you to Windows PowerShell and REST APIs along with their key features. It will also explain the 3 major aspects related to the Windows Powershell REST API combination. Read along to learn more about these 2 tools!

Table of Contents

Prerequisites

  • Windows PowerShell.
  • Understanding of the working of REST APIs.

Introduction to Windows PowerShell

PowerShell REST API: PowerShell Logo
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Windows PowerShell is a command-line tool and scripting language built for system administration. Windows PowerShell was built on the .NET framework and it helps IT specialists to automate and control the administration of Windows OS and the apps running on the Windows Server environment. 

The Windows PowerShell commands, which are known as cmdlets, allow you to manage your computers from the command line. With Windows Windows PowerShell, you can access data stores, like the Registry and Certificate Store easily. Some online services provide APIs that you can use to access their data while others don’t.

Key Features of Windows PowerShell

  • Exchange Email Management: Windows PowerShell enables you to have full administration of the Exchange Servers. The Exchange Serve module will automatically manage all aspects of your Exchange email server.
  • Pipeline: Windows PowerShell provides you with the ability to chain commands together using a pipeline. Users performing a task with multiple steps can benefit from this feature as it speeds up their execution rate.
  • Extending Management Services: Windows PowerShell uses Active Directory Module to provide management capabilities to Active Directory objects, like computers, users, and groups, etc.

To learn more about Windows PowerShell, visit here.

Introduction to REST APIs

PowerShell REST API: REST API Logo
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Representational State Transfer (REST) refers to a software architecture that defines the way web services should be designed. It uses HTTP verbs to dictate the actions that are requested by clients and uses the query string and URL to identify the resources being acted upon. 

REST APIs facilitate communication between applications. In most cases, the term “API” is used to refer to a publicly available web API that returns data, most likely in XML or JSON. An API is not a server or a database, but it is the code tasked with governing the access point (s) for the server. 

Key Features of REST APIs

REST APIs are globally used by developers due to the following features:

  • Scalability: REST APIs are known for their scalability. Since the server and client are separated, the development team can easily scale the product.
  • Easy Management: REST APIs allow you to transfer data between servers and make changes to the database at any time. This makes it possible to host the frontend and the backend of an application on different servers, which is a significant advantage in terms of management.
  • Independent Development: Because there is a separation between the client and the server, the REST API simplifies the independent development of different areas of a project. Furthermore, the REST API easily adapts to the syntax of the work platform. This allows you to experiment with various programming environments during the product development process.

To know more about REST APIs, visit here.

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Use Cases of Windows PowerShell REST APIs

A Windows PowerShell REST API can help you to extend your Windows PowerShell scripts. This can give you access to new functionalities, and your ability to create advanced scripts will expand. The following is the list of HTTP methods and what they can help you to do in Windows PowerShell REST APIs:

  • GET—Read
  • POST—Create
  • PUT—Update/replace
  • PATCH—Partial update/modify
  • DELETE—Remove

Following are the most popular use cases of Windows PowerShell REST APIs:

1) Using Windows PowerShell REST APIs to Read Docs

To learn how to use different REST APIs, you should know how to read their documentation. If you learn how to read one style of documentation, it will be easy to learn how to read others. 

This article will be using the Petstore server, which uses the popular Swagger framework. The following image shows some of the endpoints for the REST API:

PowerShell REST API: Petstore Server Example
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The information presented on the above page can help you to run calls that require the use of the HTTP GET method. However, for methods like GET and SET, you will be required to click and expand the row to get more information. A click on the POST row shows the following information:

PowerShell REST API: Petstore Server Description
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That’s how to read the REST API documentation.

2) Using Windows PowerShell REST APIs to Query Data with GET Method

To use a Windows REST API PowerShell, you use the built-in cmdlets, thus, you don’t need extra modules. This section will show you how to fetch data using the GET method on the /pet/{petId} endpoint. 

The petid is a parameter that takes an integer value. 

PowerShell REST API: Petstore ServerDescription
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To call a REST API from the Windows PowerShell, you should use the Invoke-RestMethod cmdlet. A call to an API is simply a request through HTTP or HTTPS. So, you will need a URL to which the API will be sent. You can find detailed information about the URL to call to get data from API documentation. 

Now, it’s time to learn, how to do it with Windows PowerShell. Open the terminal window and type the following:

Invoke-RestMethod -Method GET -ContentType “application/json” -Uri “https://petstore.swagger.io/v2/pet/1”

Hit the Enter key. It will return the following result:

id : 1
category : @{id=0; name=string}
name : dog
photoUrls : {string}
tags : {@{id=0; name=string}}
status : available

The Invoke-RestMethod cmdlet automatically converted the returned JSON output to an object, as the server returned “application/json” in the response. 

Congratulations!

You have successfully created your first Windows PowerShell REST API call.

3) Using Windows PowerShell REST APIs to Create an Object with POST Method

In the last section, you learned how to use the GET method to get data. However, this alone is not enough. This section will teach you, how to create a Windows PowerShell REST API call that uses the POST method. 

The POST method is used for creating objects like users, entries, and more. The POST request sends a body with information to the REST endpoint, normally in JSON format, or in a URL-encoded form. 

In this section, we will be discussing how to use a Windows PowerShell REST API to create a JSON object and POST it to the /pet endpoint. 

Expand the POST/pet endpoint in the documentation to see how the JSON object should look like:

PowerShell REST API: Using POST Method
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Let’s begin by creating a hashtable that we will convert to a JSON object later. You should avoid raw JSON in Windows PowerShell because it has some limitations. 

$Body = @{
id = 21 category = @{ id = 47 name = “Whatever” }
name = “Doggie”
photoUrls = @( “string” )
tags = @(@{ id = 0 name = “string” } )
status = “available”
}

Let’s now convert the hashtable into a JSON object and post it to the /pet endpoint.

$JsonBody = $Body | ConvertTo-Json
$Uri = “https://petstore.swagger.io/v2/pet”
Invoke-RestMethod -ContentType “application/json” -Uri $Uri -Method Post -Body $JsonBody

Once the Windows PowerShell REST API creates the object, you will receive a confirmation. 

Conclusion

This article introduced Windows PowerShell and REST APIs and discussed their prominent features. Moreover, it also explained the well-known use cases of the Windows PowerShell REST API Examples. These tools together can be used to read Docs, Query Data with GET Method, and Create an Object with POST Method. Moreover, using REST APIs can improve the performance of Windows PowerShell significantly.

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Share your understanding of the Windows PowerShell REST API in the comments below!

Nicholas Samuel
Freelance Technical Content Writer, Hevo Data

Skilled in freelance writing within the data industry, Nicholas is passionate about unraveling the complexities of data integration and data analysis through informative content for those delving deeper into these subjects. He has written more than 150+ blogs on databases, processes, and tutorials that help data practitioners solve their day-to-day problems.

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