Thursday, 13 October, 2005

A couple of months back I enrolled on the beta program for Microsoft's latest version of the Windows Command Shell which is codenamed Monad. Monad is a long-time coming, it finally brings us a truly powerful command line for the Windows platform which is something most professionals who have to use Windows daily have yearned for since the creation of the operating system nearly twenty years ago.

The Monad team decided the Unix style commands and syntax wasn't good enough for Windows so they decided to create brand-new set of commands, . This is pretty annoying because I've already learned how to use Sed, Grep, Less and a variety of other useful Unix commands. Why should I have to learn a brand-new set of commands in order to manipulate the Windows operating system? Another example of Microsoft reinventing a perfectly good wheel.

This small complaint aside, I think the Monad shell is vast improvement over the current shell. For a start, you can actually do something half useful with it without too much pain. For example, I was able to search all my C# files for a line that matched a certain regular expression using a command one line long. Similarly, I was able to change the extension of a large number of files from .php to .jpg in a single line. This is the kind of work that is the bread and butter of many a programmer but in order to do these simple kinds of things you need to equip yourself with tools kits such as Unix Tools or cygwin. If worse came to worse you had to write your own tool which any programmer will tell you is not always a quick and easy thing to do.

Monad allows you to sit on the fence so to speak. It's very easy to write a quick and nasty script to achieve a goal without having to bother about all the additional complexity writing a custom program entails. The danger of any powerful scripting language is that you actually for-go writing a program when really a full fledged program is the best solution. This is not a criticism of Monad, per-se, because it can apply to any scripting language.

Monad is certainly growing on me and I suspect that the documentation on it grows and people start using it, its usefulness will is only going to get better. It's already slowly starting to take over some of the tasks I normally set-aside to custom built programs. I think Monad is going to be great.


22:29:11 GMT | #Programming | Permalink
XML View Previous Posts