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Merrill Aldrich

Technical content about Microsoft data technologies. All opinions expressed are purely my own and do not reflect positions of my employer or associates.

Poor Man’s PowerShell TFS SSMS Integration

This is lame. Still, here goes: I need, increasingly, to author both PowerShell and SQL Server scripts, bundle them into a solution and store that in TFS. Usually the PowerShell scripts are very closely related to SQL Server, and have a lot of SQL in them. I am hopeful that 2012 SSDT, or the tighter integration of SSMS and Visual Studio in 2012, might help put all of this in one place, but for now I am stuck in SSMS 2008 R2. So here are my blunt attempts to marry these activities.

(This post is rather like the scene at the end of MythBusters, when the explosion didn’t really work, so they just put a lot of C4 under the <whatever is being used> and set it off.)


Get SSMS Connected to TFS

First, I downloaded and installed the TFS integration bits for SSMS, known sesquipedalian-ly by the polysyllabic appellation “Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Foundation Server Microsoft® Source Code Control Interface Provider.” Or TFS MSSCCI Provider, for short. This adds integration between SSMS and Team Foundation Server, so that I can create a SQL script solution and store it in source control, with check in/check out, etc. It’s sort of OK, actually, and miles better than nothing.

Next I made a new SQL Server script solution in SSMS. I then right-clicked on it in the Solution Explorer and used the context menu to add it to source control.

Make a PowerShell Script by Force

Now for the PowerShell “integration.” In SSMS, in a solution, the “Miscellaneous” folder can contain any sort of files you like. So I right-clicked on the project, chose Add New Item. In the Add New Item dialog, I picked a template at random and forced the file name to myPowerShellScript.ps1. This makes the file, in the Miscellaneous folder (admittedly with a few lines of unwanted SQL code in it):


Create an “External Tools” entry for PowerShell ISE

SSMS has long had the ability to launch an external program from a menu command. I hadn’t used this much in the past (never really saw the point) but in this case it works nicely. I clicked Tools > External Tools… and created a new entry for the PowerShell ISE:


In Arguments and Initial Directory, it’s possible to put $()-style variables that are sensitive to the context in SSMS, in this case to pass the file selected in the Solution Explorer as an argument to launch the PowerShell ISE – basically allowing me to open a .ps1 file, in the right app, from inside SSMS.

At this point, it’s possible to create a source-controlled PowerShell script in the SSMS solution, to open and edit it with the PowerShell ISE, and to check it in to TFS. Huzzah!

Option: TFS Windows Shell Extension

That’s pretty grand, I think, but as an added option, it can be handy to check out a PowerShell script, make a change, and then check it back in, without using SSMS. That’s possible using a little Team System widget called the Windows Shell Extension, which is bundled in this TFS Power Tools download:

Note: this installer, by default, installs a bunch of stuff you don’t want, and not the thing you do, for this case, so use the Custom option in the installer and select the Windows Shell Extension feature.

With the Shell Extension, you can see the source control state of files right in Windows Explorer, with a little green icon overlay. There is a right-click context menu to check files in and out.

Adding this widget means I can check a file out in right in Windows, edit with PowerShell ISE, and then check it back in – great for those PoSh scripts that don’t have a lot of SQL dependencies.

It’s not pretty, but it works. And, provided you have a legal TFS license, by my count the cost comes to … $0!

Published Wednesday, April 4, 2012 11:45 AM by merrillaldrich

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merrillaldrich said:

Post script: it has been suggested that this procedure might shed light on a tiny gap - a fissure, if you will - between PowerShell, SQL Server tools and source control. To which I reply, "Ya Think?!"

April 4, 2012 2:10 PM

Steve Fibich said:


Great post, I find myself integrating PowerShell and SQL Scripts into TFS as well.  I'll try this method to group the code together in a more seamless fashion.  One note there is a TFS Snapin for PowerShell which is really useful. (  Once you have them install its as easy as adding Add-PSSnapin Microsoft.TeamFoundation.PowerShell to your PowerShell Profile.

April 5, 2012 8:34 AM

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