To be honest, much of the buzz about Longhorn hasn’t really gotten me very excited. All that I’ve been really interested in is WinFS but I haven’t spent much time looking into it yet. Tonight I ran across something called “Monad” which managed to get my attention.
Announced at the Professional Developer’s Conference, Monad is a replacement for cmd.exe. Personally, I love using the command line. I’ve always found that most administrative tasks are much easier to perform using a command line interface than to dig through layer upon layer of windows and dialog boxes just to click one check box. Sure, some things are clumsy in the command line but at least its fast, there’s no question about what is actually happening, and most important, there’s NO DIGGING! I even extend this to database administration where I prefer to use Query Analyzer to Enterprise Manager for most SQL Server administrative tasks.
You can imagine my dismay when I read that my favorite tool in Windows administration was being replaced. “What could they possibly do to it?” I wondered.
Long story short, Microsoft has finally decided to catch up with the rest of the operating system world and switch to a pipeline based model. The nicest thing about Monad is that rather than being an ASCII based pipeline, its a .NET object based pipeline. What does all this mean? It means that administrative tasks are going to get a whole lot easier!
Perhaps one of the nicest examples I’ve seen regarding how Monad simplifies administrative tasks comes from an article on TechWorld. In the example, the task of enumerating processes to determine how much memory is being used by each process in Windows 2003 (using some third party tools) is compared to the same task on Monad. Basically, rather than writing a custom script in Python, a new “get-command” command has been added which returns a collection of System.Diagnostics.Process objects which can be piped to Excel, an HTML file, or a .NET Grid control. The results can even be piped to further commands.
Maybe Longhorn isn’t going to be so bad afterall!
For more information about Monad, Google “Monad“