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Greg`s Tech blog

Powershell and a Hash of Custom Objects

Thursday 16 of September, 2010
Like many companies, we regularly import data from our HR system to populate our Active Directory information. We wrote that script several years back using vbscript to read an Excel spreadsheet and populate AD. As we've been learning Powershell, it is time to re-write this task as an exercise in learning and training.

One of the first areas we needed to deal with was populating the address information for our various offices. The HR export contains only minimal location information (Alexandria, Philadelphia, etc) and we want the full street address in AD. To do this in PoSh, I created an associative array (or hash) of location objects that are custom PoSh objects. This article describe how we made this work. I'm sharing this so we can all learn something about PS hashes.

The detailed address info is kept in a static .CSV file with columns for each field (St, zip, city, etc). That is simply read with import CSV like this
{CODE (colors=powershell) }
import-csv $LocFile
{CODE}

Next we need to run through each location and build a custom object containing the address details for each. Building on the import, that code looks like this:

{CODE (colors=powershell) }
import-csv $LocFile| foreach {
$loc= new-object object
$loc |add-member noteproperty site $_.site
$loc |add-member noteproperty street $_.street
$loc |add-member noteproperty city $_.city
$loc |add-member noteproperty state $_.state
$loc |add-member noteproperty zip $_.zip
$sites$_.site=$loc
}
{CODE}


The first line reads the csv and pipes each row through the foreach command. Each row is a new location, so we create a new object to hold the address - the
{CODE (colors=powershell) }
$loc=new-object
{CODE} does this. We then add each element of the address to the object using add-member noteproperty.

The last piece of this is associating the location object we create with the site name so we can access the other details directly. This is accomplished by the command:
{CODE (colors=powershell)}
$sites$_.site=$loc
{CODE}

The $sites variable has to be initialized using
{CODE (colors=powershell) }
$sites=@()
{CODE} to tell PoSH that this is an array. Then each time the script executes.

{CODE (colors=powershell)}
$sites$_.site=$loc {CODE}
The object is added to the array of these custom objects.

When we process an employees account during the update, we read the employees location from the csv file where we store the city, we then use the city to look up the detailed address information from the array.
{CODE (colors=powershell)}
$EmpAD.l = $Locations$city.city
$EmpAD.st = $Locations$city.state
$EmpAD.streetAddress = $Locations$city.street
$EmpAD.PostalCode = $Locations$city.zip
{CODE}