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PSDataSet

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About

This modules provides tools for interacting with .NET datasets from powershell. .NET 5.0 (and earlier) provides resource to work with data sets and tables. To make it easier to interact with the constructors, methods, properties, this module was developed to powershell-ify the syntax of working with these resources.

Why should I use DataSets and DataTables?

Powershell provides built-in methods of managing data like; Arrays, Collections, Lists, HashTables, Dictionaries etc. They all have their use cases, strengths and weaknesses. One of the weeknesses that all of them suffers from is managing very large data structures and the resulting resource utilization and performance limitations.

When working with datatables with let's say 20 000 items and 60 properties each the methods above will turn really slow and quite possible make the powershell host reach the memory limit. (Default 2048 MB for v5).

Obviously a SQL server or similar would be a good candidate to store such data sets but it is not always possible and sometimes you are forces to manage large data sets in memory.

The best way of handling these large data sets that I found was the .NET datasets and datatables. That is the reason why this module was born. This module is a wrapper for these .NET classes.

Installation

To install from the PowerShell gallery using PowerShellGet run the following command:

Install-Module PSDataSet -Scope CurrentUser

Usage

Create one or more tables

To get started we need to create a table

$DataTable = New-DataTable -TableName 'UsersTable'

Add columns to tables

Next we need to add a few columns to the table. First we'll add a few plain columns. Secondly we will add a column with an expression. This expression concatinates firstname and lastname to a displayname. Last we will add a column that has a default value in case nothing is set.

Add-DataTableColumn -DataTable $DataTable -Names 'ID','FirstName','LastName'
Add-DataTableColumn -DataTable $DataTable -Names 'DisplayName' -Expression "[FirstName] + ' ' + [LastName]"
Add-DataTableColumn -DataTable $DataTable -Names 'DefaultTheme' -DefaultValue 'Blue'

Add rows to tables

Now that we have a basic strucutre in our users table we can start to add rows. The Add-DataTableRow cmdlet accepts psobjects as input. The object should contains properties corresponding to columns in the DataTable.

$NewRow = [pscustomobject]@{
ID = 1
FirstName = 'Will'
LastName = 'Smith'
}
$NewRow | Add-DataTableRow -DataTable $DataTable

The content of the data table is now

$DataTable | Format-Table

ID FirstName LastName DisplayName DefaultTheme
-- --------- -------- ----------- ------------
1 Will Smith Will Smith Dark

Create a dataset

In case several data tables are needed a data set can be created. A data set can be viewed as a container of data tables and provides a few extra capabilities like data table relations. To create a data set and add tables run the following commands.

$DataSet = New-DataSet
Add-DataSetTable -Dataset $Dataset -DataTable $DataTable