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Adding Parameters that Process Pipeline Input


One source of input for a cmdlet is an object on the pipeline that originates from an upstream cmdlet. This section describes how to add a parameter to the Get-Proc cmdlet (described in Creating Your First Cmdlet) so that the cmdlet can process pipeline objects.

This Get-Proc cmdlet uses a Name parameter that accepts input from a pipeline object, retrieves process information from the local computer based on the supplied names, and then displays information about the processes at the command line.

Topics in this section include the following:

The first step in cmdlet creation is always naming the cmdlet and declaring the .NET class that implements the cmdlet. This cmdlet retrieves process information, so the verb name chosen here is "Get". (Almost any sort of cmdlet that is capable of retrieving information can process command-line input.) For more information about approved cmdlet verbs, see Cmdlet Verb Names.

The following is the definition for this Get-Proc cmdlet. Details of this definition are given in Creating Your First Cmdlet.

[Cmdlet(VerbsCommon.Get, "proc")]
public class GetProcCommand : Cmdlet

This section describes how to define input from the pipeline for a cmdlet. This Get-Proc cmdlet defines a property that represents the Name parameter as described in Adding Parameters that Process Command Line Input. (See that topic for general information about declaring parameters.)

However, when a cmdlet needs to process pipeline input, it must have its parameters bound to input values by the Windows PowerShell runtime. To do this, you must add the ValueFromPipeline keyword or add the ValueFromPipelineByProperty keyword to the ParameterAttribute attribute declaration. Specify the ValueFromPipeline keyword if the cmdlet accesses the complete input object. Specify the ValueFromPipelineByProperty if the cmdlet accesses only a property of the object.

Here is the parameter declaration for the Name parameter of this Get-Proc cmdlet that accepts pipeline input.

           Position = 0,
           ValueFromPipeline = true,
           ValueFromPipelineByPropertyName = true
public string[] Name
  get { return processNames; }
  set { processNames = value; }
private string[] processNames;
<Parameter(Position:=0, ValueFromPipeline:=True, _
ValueFromPipelineByPropertyName:=True), ValidateNotNullOrEmpty()> _
Public Property Name() As String()
        Return processNames
    End Get

    Set(ByVal value As String())
        processNames = value
    End Set

End Property

The previous declaration sets the ValueFromPipeline keyword to true so that the Windows PowerShell runtime will bind the parameter to the incoming object if the object is the same type as the parameter, or if it can be coerced to the same type. The ValueFromPipelineByPropertyName keyword is also set to true so that the Windows PowerShell runtime will check the incoming object for a Name property. If the incoming object has such a property, the runtime will bind the Name parameter to the Name property of the incoming object.


The setting of the ValueFromPipeline attribute keyword for a parameter takes precedence over the setting for the ValueFromPipelineByPropertyName keyword.

If your cmdlet is to handle pipeline input, it needs to override the appropriate input processing methods. The basic input processing methods are introduced in Creating Your First Cmdlet.

This Get-Proc cmdlet overrides the ProcessRecord method to handle the Name parameter input provided by the user or a script. This method will get the processes for each requested process name or all processes if no name is provided. Notice that within ProcessRecord, the call to WriteObject(Object, Boolean) is the output mechanism for sending output objects to the pipeline. The second parameter of this call, enumerateCollection, is set to true to tell the Windows PowerShell runtime to enumerate the array of process objects, and write one process at a time to the command line.

protected override void ProcessRecord()
  // If no process names are passed to the cmdlet, get all processes.
  if (processNames == null)
      // Write the processes to the pipeline making them available
      // to the next cmdlet. The second argument of this call tells 
      // PowerShell to enumerate the array, and send one process at a 
      // time to the pipeline.
      WriteObject(Process.GetProcesses(), true);
    // If process names are passed to the cmdlet, get and write 
    // the associated processes.
    foreach (string name in processNames)
      WriteObject(Process.GetProcessesByName(name), true);
    } // End foreach (string name...).

For the complete C# sample code, see GetProcessSample03 Sample.

Windows PowerShell passes information between cmdlets using .Net objects. Consequently, a cmdlet may need to define its own type, or the cmdlet may need to extend an existing type provided by another cmdlet. For more information about defining new types or extending existing types, see Extending Object Types and Formatting [ps].

After implementing a cmdlet it must be registered with Windows PowerShell through a Windows PowerShell snap-in. For more information about registering cmdlets, see How to Register Cmdlets, Providers, and Host Applications [ps].

When your cmdlet has been registered with Windows PowerShell, test it by running it on the command line. For example, test the code for the sample cmdlet. For more information about using cmdlets from the command line, see the Getting Started with Windows PowerShell [OLD MSDN].

  • At the Windows PowerShell prompt, enter the following commands to retrieve the process names through the pipeline.

    PS> type ProcessNames | get-proc

    The following output appears.

    Handles  NPM(K)  PM(K)   WS(K)  VS(M)  CPU(s)    Id  ProcessName
    -------  ------  -----   ----- -----   ------    --  -----------
        809      21  40856    4448    147    9.50  2288  iexplore
        737      21  26036   16348    144   22.03  3860  iexplore
         39       2   1024     388     30    0.08  3396  notepad
       3927      62  71836   26984    467  195.19  1848  OUTLOOK
  • Enter the following lines to get the process objects that have a Name property from the processes called "IEXPLORE". This example uses the Get-Process cmdlet (provided by Windows PowerShell) as an upstream command to retrieve the "IEXPLORE" processes.

    PS> get-process iexplore | get-proc

    The following output appears.

    Handles  NPM(K)  PM(K)   WS(K)  VS(M)  CPU(s)    Id  ProcessName
    -------  ------  -----      ----- -----   ------     -- -----------
        801      21  40720    6544    142    9.52  2288  iexplore
        726      21  25872   16652    138   22.09  3860  iexplore
        801      21  40720    6544    142    9.52  2288  iexplore
        726      21  25872   16652    138   22.09  3860  iexplore