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PowerShell Shock and the 'Disappearing GUI'

IT pros using Microsoft-stack products partly do so because of their user-friendly graphical user interfaces (GUIs) and relatively good documentation. So, what's with this PowerShell barrage coming lately from Microsoft? Is it some craze, like bell-bottom pant cuffs coming back in style? Well, it would be, if bell bottoms could automate your wardrobe -- especially your tie collection.

The key phrase is "scriptable automation." It's the new (old) marching orders for IT pros, and it's getting heavy promotion from Microsoft in its latest products emerging this year, from SQL Server 2012, System Center 2012 and Windows Server 8.

PowerShell is a command-line interface tool. So, does this PowerShell product integration trend from Microsoft mean (*gulp*) that the GUI is dead? You'd never hear that from Microsoft. With Windows Server 8, Microsoft is now saying that PowerShell is an "additive" tool. You'll get the same message over on the System Center side of things, where Microsoft's Orchestrator runtime modeling solution is capable of extracting PowerShell scripts to help automate processes based on conditional situations to address repeatable operations.

The GUI isn't gone from Microsoft's emerging products (it's "Metro"-ized), but busy IT folks can certainly be excused for wanting one that's robust and easy to use. So, maybe there's a little PowerShell shock out there right now. The good news is that it looks like Microsoft will give you a choice, and the message seems to be this: command-line interface "and/or" GUI.

If you want to keep pace with Redmond, then PowerShell is the way to go. The PowerShell cult is deep. At last month's SQL Server 2012 Workshop held on Microsoft's campus, Dandy Weyn, a Microsoft senior technology product manager, showed off how to install SQL Server 2012 by just using the PowerShell command-line interface. After the demo, I wanted to embrace my inner GUI and never come out of its shell.

Has Microsoft gone completely PowerShell mad? Tell Doug at dbarney@redmondmag.com.
-- By Kurt Mackie

Posted by Kurt Mackie on 03/09/2012 at 1:19 PM


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