Building Administration User Interfaces

Do you build GUI's for your application administrators?

Do you provide a consistent familiar interface?

Do you provide scripting capabilities?

Sometimes I get mistaken for the Windows PowerShell evangelist. Whilst that is fun, its not my whole story.

This is (well its at least more of it):

When you are thinking about building an interface for administrators there are some things you should consider.

  1. They love MMC - honestly - they love the conisistency, the familiar look and feel, the fact they can build custom console. They also really hate having 1,400 different administration tools, written by developers who "know just what they want".
  2. If you provide a scripting interface, administration can be automated, Automation is good, because it enables scale, consistency and repeatability.

If you implement all your administration logic via powershell, then layer the MMC GUI over the top (i.e. MMC calls Powershell to get the work done) - you will have given your admins the absolute best of all worlds, GUIs, Scripting, automation...

Exchange 2007 does exactly the above. You can discover a complex task using the MMC console and Exchange will tell you the PowerShell command it just performed. You can then cut and paste that command into a script, and bingo, instant, discoverable scripting.

I've just posted the first of 3 screencasts on the subject onto channel 9 - check it out...


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