System administration has always been Windows' Achilles' heel. The graphical tools that simplify basic chores just get in the way when there's heavy lifting to be done. And CMD.EXE, the hapless command shell, pales in comparison to the Unix shells that inspired it. Win32 Perl has been my ace in the hole, combining a powerful scripting language with extensions that can wield Windows' directory, registry, event log, and COM services. But I've always thought there should be a better way.
Jeffrey Snover thought so, too. He's the architect of Monad, aka MSH (Microsoft Shell), the radical new Windows command shell first shown at the Professional Developers Conference last fall.
MSH is quirky, complex, delightful, and utterly addictive. You can, for example, convert objects to and from XML so that programs that don't natively speak .Net can have a crack at them. There's SQL-like sorting and grouping. You write ad hoc extensions in a built-in scripting language that feels vaguely Perlish. For more permanent extensions, called cmdlets, you use .Net languages.
With MSH, Windows system administration manages to be both fun and productive. And the story will only improve as the .Net Framework continues to enfold Windows' management APIs. Competitors take note: Windows is about to convert one of its great weaknesses into a strength
read the whole weblog post or infoworld article.