An Alias and Function Change

At current, my site has 230 published posts. It’s 231 when this one goes live. Those are all written by me since mid 2014. I’m not sure of my per month average, but I can say for sure that I’ve never missed a month.

Outside of those 230 published posts, are 40 some drafts. Those are posts I started and never finished for one reason or another. Sometimes, I realized what I thought worked really didn’t, and therefore wasn’t able to complete the post. Well, in an effort to clean up the drafts, I’m publishing my first stupid draft turned post. Here’s goes… It’s learning from my failure — enjoy.

For just about as long as I can remember, I’ve always created an alias for my functions, just before the function is defined. This is of course when a function is defined outside of a module, such as when it’s defined in my $PROFILE script. In the below example, I do just that. After the alias is created, I define the function for which my alias can be used to invoke the function.

Set-Alias -Name saw -Value Show-AWord
Function Show-AWord {
    '!! A Word !!'

PS > saw
!! A Word !!

There’s another way to do this, as well. You can create the alias after the function’s been defined. You just swap the commands.

Function Show-EWord {
    '** E Word **'
Set-Alias -Name sew -Value Show-EWord

PS > sew
** E Word **

And here’s where the post went stupid.

I’ve always been mildly annoyed that I needed to have the code outside of the function, whether it’s before, or after, the function definition. I always wished there was a way to create aliases from inside the function.

Well there is, and there’s always been. I’ve just never given it much thought until about five minutes ago. This might be why I started this post; I didn’t think about it long enough. Here’s nearly the same function as above; however, now we’ll create the alias for the function, within the function. Because the Set-Alias cmdlet has a scope parameter, we can create a global alias from inside the function.

Function Show-GWord {
    Set-Alias -Name sgw -Value Show-GWord -Scope Global
    '$$ G Word $$'

PS > sgw
PS > # Nothing

Here’s about the time, I realized my problem. If you create an alias inside the function (using the Global scope [that’s how it “works”]), the alias is not going to exist until after the function has been invoked for the first time. Therefore, the function would have to be run like the below example. I pretty much removed a line outside the function, put it into the function, and then added another line outside the function. Ugh, not what I was after all.

PS > Show-GWord | Out-Null
PS > sgw
$$ G Word $$

So yeah, this post didn’t go as planned. No wonder it made its home in my drafts. It makes you wonder though. Why isn’t there a way to run some code inside a function when the function is being defined? Maybe because functions belong in modules and modules give you this ability when they’re imported, via their module manifest, and potentially, their ScriptsToProcess.

There you have it. A stupid draft I published.

2 thoughts on “An Alias and Function Change

    1. tommymaynard Post author

      This is great, Luc. I can’t believe I never came across it, although I didn’t find much when I went to look for it now. I’m not in a position to try it myself, at the moment, but you can bet I will! I did find someone mention that it was introduced in PowerShell 4.0. Thanks for sharing!

      Update: This works beautifully; glad you shared again, Luc.


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