Monad is coming? Are you ready?
Okay, so what is Monad?
Monad is the new Microsoft Command Shell (MSH). Microsoft is currently working on (but not yet released) a new command-line interface and scripting language for Microsoft operating systems. The final release of Monad will probably be sometime near the release of the new Windows Vista operating system. This technology is designed to provide a better shell and scripting language than previous technologies such as batch (BAT), command files (CMD), or Windows Scripting Host (VBS or WSH).
New features include the MSH "command-lets" treat all parts of the OS as .NET objects, it is object oriented, digital signatures, object inheritance, data passing between "command-lets", improved security, and output of commands can be directed to applications (such as Word or Excel).
Notably, all Exchange 12 administrative functions will be accomplished via Monad (but the administrative GUI will still sit on top of the "command-lets". So many of those maddeningly repetetive tasks you do in Exchange 2003's admin program can be scripted with Monad. Of course, you can still use the admin interface.
But, why "Monad"?
I had to do a little research on this. The term comes from a philosophy of Gottfried Leibniz called Monadology. This philosophy says that everything is integrated in a pre-established harmony and the fundamental elements of this philosophy is called Monads. Obviously, someone at Microsoft Reseach is doing some recreational reading in to something other than technology.
So, how does this affect me?
Ironic that I'm writing this blog entry since I can't even write a good, solid VBScript. Almost everyday, I find administrative and management tasks that are better served by using scripting, CDO, ADSI, or WMI, but if I can't find work that someone else has done, I'm left out in the cold (and doing the work manually). MSH is going to be integrated completely with Windows Vista and will have legacy support for Windows 2003 and Windows XP Pro. Further, it will probably be tightly integrated with other Microsoft server applications so that management of those applications can also be handled through Monad. So, this is really something I can't afford "not" to learn. I'm already behind the curve with some of my fellow MCSEs, MCTs, and MVPs that have embraced this technology and are quickly learning it.
Where can I learn more?
- For starters, Windows Admin Made Easy at Infoworld is a good introduction.
- Download a publicly released beta, Windows "Monad" Beta 2, but it does require the .NET Framework 2.0 Beta 2)
- Getting Started with Monad provides a good basic starting point
- Introduction to MSH by Jon Udell includes some neat examples
- The Monad Team Blog
- Monad Team member Lee Holmes' Monad Blog
- Getting Started Guide to Using the MSH Shell and Language