Scratching Your Itch

As Doc Searls so elegantly puts it: Open Source movement is basically people scratching their own itch. The theory is that if you don’t like how a computer system operates you just take the code and fix it. The harsh reality is of course that most people out there are not programmers (there’s an interesting conversation out there between Phil Windley, Scott C. Lemon, and Jon Udell related to that Other Digital Divide). So even if Microsoft made their Exchange Server open source the majority of Exchange administrators won’t rush downloading the code to fix whatever they think is broken.

PowerGUI actually tries to extend the concept and literally let you change the management console for your system without any programming or feature requests sent to Really. No, I mean it. OK, here we go with the screenshots:

I’ll skip the easy ones (selecting the columns, removing nodes and actions, etc.) Let’s just follow the Exchange example, and suppose there is an Exchange 2007 administrator who wants to have a UI for managing Public Folders without waiting for Service Pack 1.

Well, to add such a node you just pick the New/Node command where you want to have it:Add new node

Then, in the New Node dialog box you just type in the name of the node and search for the functionality you need by typing in the keywords:

Type in keywords to find a cmdlet

Now you can just read the description of the commands PowerGUI found (or keep typing in the keywords until there’s only one left) and double-click the one you need (in this case get-PublicFolder). That’s it. You’ve got a new node in the tree and it gives you a list of public folders:

POwerGUI with the Public Folders node added

Now if we want, we can start adding functionality to the Actions pane:

Add links

And get the same dialog box you saw before with keyword search to find the functionality you need.

In this case let’s get a bit more advanced – let’s add a command to get subfolders for a selected folder. To do this we need to specify a parameter to the get-PublicFolder command but luckily again no programming is required because all the parameters and their descriptions are in the dialog box:

Add a command to get subfolders

That’s it. Now you can browse your public folders:
POwerGUI showing PF subfolders

You can go on adding more actions to enable you to mail-enable/disable the folders, create new ones, change their properties, set permissions, etc., etc.

Bottom-line: itch scratched, you’ve got Public Folder management UI months before anyone else, your itch scratched, no programming or feature request emails required. 😉


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The posts on this blog are provided “as is” with no warranties and confer no rights. The opinions expressed on this site are mine and mine alone, and do not necessarily represent those of my employer - WSO2 or anyone else for that matter. All trademarks acknowledged.

© 2007-2014 Dmitry Sotnikov

March 2007
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