PowerShell has provided a way to update the help files for modules since version 3.0.
Since creating my first two modules, I have tried adding updatable help support, but came across a few issues. Tonight, I finally resolved them for my module PoShEvents.
GitHub Bad, GitHub Pages Good
My module repository is in GitHub, and I originally thought that I could simply use the Raw view for my updatable help. After all, I was successfully serving the online help version using the markdown files straight out of GitHub.
GitHub, as it turns out, hosts their files in a way that is not compatible for updatable help.
I am now using GitHub Pages for this blog and I wanted to give updatable help another try. This method of hosting works as intended.
Building Updatable Help
Like most others, I have opted to use the module platyPS to create my help files.
This post focuses on solving the issues I had with updatable help. For instructions on how to use
platyPS see any of
I had already created the markdown files that I was serving via GitHub for online help and moved those into my blog
repository structure. I used
Update-MarkdownHelp to update them and noticed that my Jekyll front matter was largely
untouched – some entries were out of order.
When I originally created the help files, I did not include the
-WithModulePage switch. I ran the
and generated a clean set of help files into a temp folder just to harvest the module page. After placing the file into
the correct path, I updated the front matter for Download Help Link, Help Version, and Locale.
Note: I also added additional front matter YAML to be used by Jekyll, namely layout, classes, and permalink.
As the content for the help files had previously been updated, I didn’t have to do that again. If you’re starting from a
clean or initial run of
New-MarkdownHelp, you will need to update the content manually.
Then, I recreated the external help file.
New-ExternalHelp -Path .\powershell.anovelidea.org\modulehelp\PoShEvents -OutputPath .\PoShEvents\PoShEvents\en-US\ -Force
Testing Updatable Help
Once you have created the necessary help files, you will need to test that it will successully update the module help.
First, let’s see if we can
Update-Help from the local source.
Update-Help -Module PoShEvents -SourcePath .\powershell.anovelidea.org\modulehelp\PoShEvents\ -Force -Verbose
VERBOSE: Performing the operation "Update-Help" on target "PoShEvents, Current Version: 0.2.1, Available Version: 0.2.1, UICulture: en-US". VERBOSE: PoShEvents: Updated C:\PowerShell\GitHub\PoShEvents\PoShEvents\en-US\about_PoShEvents.help.txt. Culture en-US Version 0.2.1 VERBOSE: PoShEvents: Updated C:\PowerShell\GitHub\PoShEvents\PoShEvents\en-US\PoShEvents-help.xml. Culture en-US Version 0.2.1
This proves that the updatable help works when pulling from the local source.
If the local source test is successful, you will need to upload the
*HelpContent.zip help files to the location indicated by the module’s
HelpInfoUri. After this is done, you should
verify that you can access the URL successfully by using
Invoke-WebRequest. Ideally, the StatusCode should be 200.
$ModInfo = Get-Module -Name PoShEvents | Select-Object -Property Name,Guid,HelpInfoURI (Invoke-WebRequest -Uri "$($ModInfo.HelpInfoUri)$($ModInfo.Name)_$($ModInfo.Guid)_HelpInfo.xml").StatusCode
My result was not ideal.
Invoke-WebRequest : The request was aborted: Could not create SSL/TLS secure channel.
I wished that I could say I immediately tested with
Invoke-WebRequest. That would have saved me about an hour going
down the rabbithole of trying to trace the
Update-Help command. It would really be nice if
Update-Help revealed more
internal workings when you use the
Checking the security protocol that my default PowerShell session used, I saw why my testing failed. I included the TLS 1.2 protocol and tested the URL again successfully.
[Net.ServicePointManager]::SecurityProtocol = [Net.SecurityProtocolType]::Tls,[Net.SecurityProtocolType]::Tls11,[Net.SecurityProtocolType]::Tls12
A quick search revealed that on February 8, 2018, GitHub discontinued the use of TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1.
Update-Help -Name PoShEvents -Verbose -Force
VERBOSE: Resolving URI: "https://powershell.anovelidea.org/modulehelp/PoShEvents" VERBOSE: Your connection has been redirected to the following URI: "http://powershell.anovelidea.org/modulehelp/PoShEvents/" VERBOSE: Performing the operation "Update-Help" on target "PoShEvents, Current Version: 0.2.1, Available Version: 0.2.1, UICulture: en-US". VERBOSE: PoShEvents: Updated C:\PowerShell\GitHub\PoShEvents\PoShEvents\en-US\about_PoShEvents.help.txt. Culture en-US Version 0.2.1 VERBOSE: PoShEvents: Updated C:\PowerShell\GitHub\PoShEvents\PoShEvents\en-US\PoShEvents-help.xml. Culture en-US Version 0.2.1
Setting Strong Cryptography for .Net Framework
[Net.ServicePointManager]::SecurityProtocol, as I did, only applies to the current PowerShell session. To make
the change permanent, I updated the registry.
# set strong cryptography on 64 bit .Net Framework (version 4 and above) Set-ItemProperty -Path 'HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\.NetFramework\v4.0.30319' -Name 'SchUseStrongCrypto' -Value '1' -Type DWord # set strong cryptography on 32 bit .Net Framework (version 4 and above) Set-ItemProperty -Path 'HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\.NetFramework\v4.0.30319' -Name 'SchUseStrongCrypto' -Value '1' -Type DWord
By using GitHub Pages, platyPS, and the appropriate TLS protocol, I’m finally serving updatable help for my module PoShEvents.