I just finished listening to the latest Herding Code podcast (#52) where the hosts (K. Scott Allen, Kevin Dente, Scott Koon, and Jon Galloway) talked with Alan Stevens ( C# MVP and ASP Insider) and G. Andrew Duthie (author and Microsoft Developer Evangelist) about a debate that began on Twitter regarding “Real Software Development vs Microsoft Bubble Development”. What does that have to do with PowerShell and administrative tools? The specifics of their conversation don’t have a lot of relevance to administrators and scripters, but one of the directions that their conversation took really resonated with me.
Alan throws the first punch – He likes Herding Code because it’s about real software development rather than development in the Microsoft bubble. It’s about the tool users rather than the tool builders and it’s about honest feedback.
As administrators, we need to make sure the developers of the applications that we use and administer provide us the tools we need to efficiently run our networks. Microsoft has gotten the message loud and clear. Windows 7, Server 2008 R2, and TechEd 2009 LA confirmed that. There weren’t many sessions where you didn’t hear something about PowerShell and there aren’t many products where PowerShell isn’t making inroads into the management structure.
Kudos to Jeffrey Snover and the awesome management technologies team for really selling this internally at Microsoft.
Another point made on the podcast was that Microsoft needed to do more to encourage better development practices… Can those same developers say that their products encourage better application management practices?
Now, we as the** users** of PowerShell need to step up and convince demand better administrative tooling from our vendors and internal development staffs. Companies like Quest, VMWare, Idera, Compellent, and others have gotten the message, but there are still many, many other products out there and many internal applications that suffer from inflexibility.
Web interfaces and GUI tools are nice and can be considered the icing on the cake. A true manageable application allows for consistent and repeatable actions in an easy to maintain structure, as well as providing flexibility to integrate other potential solutions. PowerShell provides a lot of that right in the box and allows administrators to bridge the gap and create their own solutions that might not have been supported yet (ever hear - “it’s in the next version”).
So, here is the call to action:
Rise up and demand proper administrative interfaces.
Talk to your managers about the benefits of streamlined application management using a consistent interface across multiple platforms and applications.
Take a developer to lunch and explain how you want to help make using his product a better experience from the application management side.
Let’s take our cue from the oft repeated concept in that Herding Code podcast – there is a need for candid feedback and it is all about the tools that we have to live in and work with every day.
If by chance one of the guys from the Herding Code podcast (or any other developer-centric podcast like .NET Rocks, Deep Fried Bytes, or StackOverflow) happens onto this post and wants to talk further, I’m available. There are also a good number of PowerShell MVPs and community bloggers who I’m sure would love to provide some “candid feedback” to “developers in the trenches doing real development”.