PowerShell Suggestion: Simplify Write-Verbose in Modules

Write-Verbose is a really useful command in PowerShell; it lets you add code to see what’s going on behind the scenes, which you can easily toggle on and off with a simple parameter, rather than by amending your code each time you need to investigate some issue. Here’s a blog nicely summarising it for those unfamiliar:

However, in my opinion there’s one major flaw with this; it doesn’t work the way I’d expect it to where modules are concerned. That is, if I have Write-Verbose statements in my code, and I put my common code into a .psm1 module file then import that module into the script (.ps1 file), the behaviour will not be the same as were I to just have those functions defined in my script.

To illustrate, say I had the following code:

# MyScript.ps1

function Invoke-Demo {
    param ([Parameter()][string]$Message)
    process {Write-Verbose $Message}

Invoke-Demo 'This DOES show when I run ".\MyScript.ps1 -Verbose"'
Write-Verbose 'This DOES show when I run ".\MyScript.ps1 -Verbose"'

Running this script with the Verbose parameter outputs 2 lines:

.\MyScript.ps1 -Verbose
This DOES show when I run ".\MyScript.ps1 -Verbose
This DOES show when I run ".\MyScript.ps1 -Verbose

However, were I to put my function into a module (i.e. to simplify its re-use in other scripts) as below, the functionality would change; making it harder for me to investigate issues.

# MyModule.psm1
function Invoke-Demo {
    param ([Parameter()][string]$Message)
    process {Write-Verbose $Message}
# MyScript.ps1
Import-Module -Path '.\MyModule.psm1' -Force 
Invoke-Demo 'This does NOT show when I run ".\MyScript.ps1 -Verbose"'
Write-Verbose 'This DOES show when I run ".\MyScript.ps1 -Verbose"'
.\MyScript.ps1 -Verbose
This DOES show when I run ".\MyScript.ps1 -Verbose

I can understand that perhaps MS decided that modules contain that’s at a stage that’s ready to be packaged and shared, and therefore assumed that people may not wish to see verbose output from the packaged module, but I’d assume that there should be some way to override this for anyone who does need to look under the covers.

There is a workaround suggested by Craig on StackOverflow: That is, whenever calling a function from a module, assign the verbose parameter with the value of the caller’s Verbose parameter as so:

Invoke-Demo 'This DOES show when I run ".\MyScript.ps1 -Verbose"; but it smells' -Verbose:($PSBoundParameters['Verbose'] -eq $true)`

Suggested Improvement

Add a parameter to the Import-Module cmdlet which states whether to inherit the caller’s Verbose setting (be that from $VerbosePreference or because the calling function/script was called with the Verbose switch specified (be that explicitly or through inheritance). i.e.

# MyModule.psm1
function Invoke-Demo {
    param ([Parameter()][string]$Message)
    process {Write-Verbose $Message}
# MyScript.ps1
Import-Module -Path '.\MyModule.psm1' -Force -InheritVerbose # <-- new switch on Import-Module
Invoke-Demo 'This now DOES show when I run ".\MyScript.ps1 -Verbose" (if above suggestion implemented by MS)'
Write-Verbose 'This DOES show when I run ".\MyScript.ps1 -Verbose"'

NB: Currently MS Connect for PowerShell ( is not taking submissions, hence blogging this.

If you like this idea, please share; I’m hoping to get this on Microsoft’s radar so that it can be implemented; or some improved solution can be offered.

Update: Thanks to Zachary Alexander for pointing out that suggestions can be submitted on GitHub.  This is now logged here:



PowerShell PlayTime :: Project Oxford

I recently stumbled across Microsoft’s Project Oxford; a collection of “AI” APIs for computer vision, speech and language. More info can be found here:

  1. MSDN:
  2. Demo:
  3. GitHub:

The project has links to a C# SDK, but that felt a bit heavy-weight for what are essentially just web services; so I thought I’d have a quick play with these functions using PowerShell.

Before coding, an API key is required. This can be obtained by logging into the following site using your MS Account (aka .net passport / live account) and registering for the free API keys:

I began by looking at the Emotion API, trawling through the client SDK code found here:

Based on that code I was able to find all the info needed to call the rest services through PowerShell, resulting in this short script:

$imageFilePath = 'c:\SomeFolder\ImageOfMeLookingAwesome.jpg'
$emotionApiKeyFree = '**my emotion aki key goes here**' #api keys:

$RecogniseUri = ("{0}" -f $emotionApiKeyFree)
$ContentType = 'application/octet-stream'
$Body = [System.IO.MemoryStream][System.Convert]::FromBase64String([convert]::ToBase64String((get-content $imageFilePath -Encoding Byte)))
$Result = Invoke-RestMethod -Method Post -Uri $RecogniseUri -ContentType $ContentType -Body $Body 

#show the results
$Result | format-list #information saying I don't look awesome; just angry, contemptable, and sad... until you spot the Es

#open the image file so we can compare the results with the picture
invoke-item $imageFilePath

To make it easier to see how the results map to the image, I then appended this to the end of my script, generating an HTML page with an image map. Hovering your mouse over the image’s faces gives you the emotions.

$htmlResultPath = 'c:\SomeFolder\EmotiomApiMap.html'

$html = @"
<head><title>really simple html page for demoing project oxford's emotion api</title></head>
<img src="$imageFilePath" usemap="#emotionMap">
<map name="emotionMap">

$html = $html -f ($Result | %{
        $top = $
        $left = $_.faceRectangle.left
        $bottom = ($ + $_.faceRectangle.height)
        $right = ($_.faceRectangle.left + $_.faceRectangle.width)

        "<area shape='rect' coords='{0},{1},{2},{3}' title='{4}'>" -f $left, $top, $right, $bottom, ($_.scores | out-string) 
    } | Join-String)

$html | out-file $htmlResultPath -Force
invoke-item $htmlResultPath 
My emotional state

PowerShell Project Oxford Emotion API PoC

I plan to play with these APIs more over the next few months / hope to find time to knock up a PowerShell module for them which I could share on GibHub.


Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Chart of Accounts Advanced Validation Rules SQL

A follow up to an earlier article: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Chart of Accounts Validation Rules SQL.

The Advanced Rules can be found in AX under: General Ledger > Setup > Chart of accounts > Configure account structures > select account structure > Advanced rule.
Here’s a small sample of our advanced rules from AX:

Advanced Rules in AX

Advanced Rules in AX

Here’s the same rule (results row 9), as produced by the below SQL:

AX Advanced Rules in SQL

AX Advanced Rules in SQL

Full SQL:

select AdvancedRule
, dr.description Name
, a.Name AccountStructure
, a.Description ASDescription
, case when dr.IsDraft =1 then 'Draft' else 'Active' end [Status] --seems to just duplicate the IsDraft info
, dr.IsDraft Draft
, drc.Filter
, dh.Name ARSAdvancedRuleStructure
from DimensionRule dr
inner join DimensionHierarchy a on a.recid = dr.AccountStructure and a.Partition = dr.Partition
inner join (
       select drcO.DimensionRule
       , drcO.Partition
       , stuff
                     select ' And ' + da.Name + ' '
                     + case
                           when coalesce(drcI.WildCardString,'') > ''
                                  then case
                                         when drcI.WildCardString like '\%%\%' escape '\' then 'contains '
                                         when drcI.WildCardString like '%\%' escape '\' then 'begins with '
                                         when drcI.WildCardString like '\%%' escape '\' then 'ends with '
                                         else 'equals '
                                  end + quotename(replace(drcI.WildCardString,'%',''),'''')
                           when drcI.IsFromOpen = drcI.IsToOpen then --if both are 0 or both are 1 (second scenario seems weird, but that's how the app behaves)
                                         when drcI.RangeFrom = drcI.RangeTo then 'Is ' + quotename(drcI.RangeFrom,'''')
                                         else 'Between ' + quotename(drcI.RangeFrom,'''') + ' through ' + quotename(drcI.RangeTo,'''')
                                            --in the below statements IsFromOpen and IsToOpen seem to behave backwards to what you'd expect; but again that's what the app does
                           when drcI.IsFromOpen=1 and drcI.IsToOpen=0 then 'Greater than or equal to ' + quotename(drcI.RangeFrom,'''')
                           when drcI.IsFromOpen=0 and drcI.IsToOpen=1 then 'Less than or equal to ' + quotename(drcI.RangeTo,'''')
                           else '-UNEXPECTED SCENARIO; SPEAK TO JB-' --this should nevere happen
                     FROM DimensionRuleCriteria drcI
                     inner join DimensionAttribute da on da.RecId = drcI.DimensionAttribute and da.Partition = drcI.Partition
                     where drcI.DimensionRule = drcO.DimensionRule and drcI.Partition = drcO.Partition
                     order by da.Name --drcI.RecId
                     for xml path(''), type
       ,1,4,'Where') Filter
       FROM DimensionRuleCriteria drcO
       group by drcO.Partition
       , drcO.DimensionRule
) drc on drc.DimensionRule = dr.RecId and drc.Partition = dr.Partition
inner join DimensionRuleAppliedHierarchy drah on drah.DimensionRule = dr.RecId and drah.Partition = dr.Partition
inner join DimensionHierarchy dh on dh.recid = drah.DimensionHierarchy and dh.Partition = drah.Partition
order by a.Name,, dh.Name, dr.IsDraft

NB: One anomaly you may notice is some rules appear twice; once as Draft and once as Active. This is where an existing rule is being edited; the existing rule remains active whilst its replacement is created in draft status. When you browse the rules you’ll see the draft rule; however the active rule is the one being applied in any validation.


Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Chart of Accounts Validation Rules SQL

In doing some analysis work on performance, a consultant recently asked for an extract of all of our AX2012’s COA validation rules.
The below SQL is an attempt at regenerating the rules based off the data in the various related tables.
NB: I’m not 100% certain that this gives all rules as they’d appear in the application, but a few initial tests prove promising; so hopefully this SQL can be reused by others with similar requirements.

Here’s a small sample of our validation rules from AX:

AX 2012 Chart Of Accounts Validation Rules Screenshot

AX 2012 Chart Of Accounts Validation Rules Screenshot

Here’s the same rules, as produced by the below SQL:

AX 2012 Chart Of Accounts Validation Rules SQL Results Screenshot

AX 2012 Chart Of Accounts Validation Rules SQL Results Screenshot

Full SQL:

set transaction isolation level read uncommitted

;with c1 as
       select DimensionConstraintNode
       , STUFF
                     SELECT ';' + case 
                           when WILDCARDSTRING > '' then WILDCARDSTRING 
                           when RangeFrom=RangeTo then RangeFrom 
                           else concat(RangeFrom,'..',RangeTo) 
                     FROM DimensionConstraintNodeCriteria inside
                     where inside.DimensionConstraintNode = outside.DimensionConstraintNode
                     ORDER BY ORDINAL, RECID
                     FOR XML PATH (''),TYPE
       ) AS Rules
       from DimensionConstraintNodeCriteria outside
       group by DimensionConstraintNode
, ActiveDCN as
       select dct.dimensionhierarchy 
       , dhl.level_
       , dhl.dimensionattribute
       , AttributeName
       , dcn.dimensionhierarchylevel
       , dcn.RecId
       , c1.Rules
       from DimensionConstraintTree dct 
       inner join DIMENSIONHIERARCHYLEVEL dhl on dhl.dimensionhierarchy = dct.dimensionhierarchy
       inner join DIMENSIONATTRIBUTE da on da.recid = dhl.dimensionattribute 
       inner join DimensionConstraintNode dcn on dcn.DIMENSIONCONSTRAINTTREE = dct.recid and dcn.dimensionhierarchylevel = dhl.RECID
       left outer join c1
       on c1.DimensionConstraintNode = dcn.recid
    where (dcn.activeto = '1900-01-01 00:00' or dcn.activeto >= getutcdate())
    and (dcn.activefrom = '1900-01-01 00:00' or dcn.activefrom <= getutcdate())
select HierarchyName
, concat(dcn1.AttributeName,': ',coalesce(dcn1.Rules,'*')) R1
, concat(dcn2.AttributeName,': ',coalesce(dcn2.Rules,'*')) R2
, concat(dcn3.AttributeName,': ',coalesce(dcn3.Rules,'*')) R3
, concat(dcn4.AttributeName,': ',coalesce(dcn4.Rules,'*')) R4
inner join ActiveDCN dcn1 on dcn1.dimensionhierarchy = dh.recid and dcn1.level_ = 1 --not sure if level’s required; it does affect results; keeping in for now as improves performance (though also reduces result set by 75%)
left outer join ActiveDCN dcn2 on dcn2.ParentConstraintNode = dcn1.Recid --and dcn2.level_ = 2
left outer join ActiveDCN dcn3 on dcn3.ParentConstraintNode = dcn2.Recid --and dcn2.level_ = 3
left outer join ActiveDCN dcn4 on dcn4.ParentConstraintNode = dcn3.Recid --and dcn2.level_ = 4
--where dcn1.Rules like '%640103%' --to produce screenshot

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