How I Do – Powershell Organization

This is a how-I-do post about organizing Powershell code. As the title suggests, this is simply how I do things at this particular moment.

Is it just me or are there actually more uses for custom Powershell modules in the day to day operations? From pure laziness (not wanting to open up SQL Server Management Studio just to grab a status/field/connection string/<fill in blank>) to environment setup (restoring databases to staging environments, provisioning machines, deploying code). We’re even using a Powershell module to post Slack messages! I probably commit code to at least one Powershell module each week. Even better is the fact that I’m usually not the only one committing Powershell code to our company GitHub repositories.

The light at the end of that tunnel requiring a bug fix in a large Powershell script –with zero unit tests (of course) — may finally be within sight. 

My modules all start out with this structure:

  • AwesomeModule\
    • AwesomeModule.psm1
    • AwesomeModule.psd1
    • Private\
      • PrivateFunction1.ps1
      • PrivateFunction1.Tests.ps1
    • Public\
      • ExportedFunction.ps1
      • ExportedFunction.Tests.ps1

Now this looks pretty standard to me. The module lives in its own folder, named the same as the module.   There’s a Powershell data file (.psd1) with the metadata about the module. The key take-away here is that each function is isolated in a separate file, with a corresponding test broken up into two categories (Private & Public). Private functions do not get exported from the Module, they generally contain less formal documentation and more developer comments. The private functions are not usually properly named (verb-noun) but more of a proper descriptive name. Public functions on the other hand are exact opposite. They all have external-facing documentation, formatted so that Get-Help AwesomeModule looks as it should.


I find it super easy to add new functionality or change existing functionality when each unit of code is isolated and tested individually. My module file (AwesomeModule.psm1) doesn’t actually contain any functions. In my mind, this file should be used to import other necessary modules, setup the context for the execution, and export the public functions. Many times, these files are less than 50 lines. The trick to tying all of this together is to dot source all of the functions in the private & public folders so that they are available in the context.

## SqlPs Module Needed
$current_location = (Get-Location).Path
Import-Module SqlPs -DisableNameChecking
Set-Location $current_location

# if debugging, set moduleRoot to current directory
if ($MyInvocation.MyCommand.Path) {
  $moduleRoot = Split-Path -Path $MyInvocation.MyCommand.Path
}else {
  $moduleRoot = $PWD.Path

# Load up the dependent functions
&amp;amp;quot;$moduleRoot\Public\*.ps1&amp;amp;quot;, &amp;amp;quot;$moduleRoot\Private\*.ps1&amp;amp;quot; |
Resolve-Path |
    Where-Object { -not ($_.ProviderPath.ToLower().Contains('.tests.')) } |
      ForEach-Object { . $_.ProviderPath }

# Export the public functions
Export-ModuleMember ExportedFunction

By using $MyInvocation.MyCommand.Path, I can source the functions located in my module directory, no matter what directory I’m actually in. This is important to understand because $MyInvocation.MyCommand.Path is $null when executing it in a user session. That’s why I’m checking for that value, and when not found, setting it to $PWD.Path will allow me to quickly source my functions for a debugging session (all of my functions in the private & public folders are made available in my current session). The dot source happens in the ForEach-Object { . $_.ProviderPath } which if you squint really hard, the . (period) can be seen.

Pester already searches recursively thru the directory it’s pointed at, so there’s nothing additional needed to test. Open up a Powershell session in the AwesomeModule directory and run Invoke-Pester and all of your Pester tests are executed. This also works nicely with Pester’s InModuleScope functionality.

As usual, thanks for reading! Any questions and/or comments are welcome (and appreciated). Would love to hear more from you about how you organize your Powershell code.



  1. I like your pattern.

    It would easy to export the Public functions as well:

    ForEach-Object {

        # dot-source script
        . $_
        if ( (Split-Path( $_.Directory) -Leaf) -Eq 'Public' ) {
            # export
            Export-ModuleMember $_.BaseName


    Liked by 1 person

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