[FoRK] Scripting GUIs (was Re: Quarters needed for Apple to put Microsoft out of our misery?)

Sean Conner sean at conman.org
Sat Jan 31 13:33:06 PST 2015

It was thus said that the Great Bill Kearney once stated:
> As for scripting vs GUI, most GUI tools that emit scripts do so mainly 
> because they lack the ability to actually do the complex things needed. 
> That last mile of user interface continues to elude a great many products. 
> That and a great many admin tasks for which MS targets their UI are not 
> done on a repetitive nor frequent basis.  Scripts left cold tend to be 
> problematic, mainly for being hard-coded in ways opposing the growth of the 
> systems they're targeted toward.  A GUI, on the other hand, typically bases 
> all activities on the live configuration of the systems presently in use. 
> Better, perhaps, to have a GUI hand-holding you through something 
> less-frequently performed than a crusty, old script no longer properly 
> configured.  There's room for both, of course, but in the real world of 
> customers that MS targets it's great to have BOTH.

  IBM had (has?  Last time I had to work with AIX was in the late 90s) a GUI
for administrative tasks called SMIT, which could be run through the command
line (using a text-based interface) or through X Windows (full graphical
goodness).  You would navigate through a series of menus to the desired
administrative action you wanted (add a new user, mount a new disk [1],
etc).  But just before it would go off and do everything, you had the chance
to see the script that SMIT built up.  I always thought that was a good idea

  -spc (It was also the only "control panel" [3] I liked using.)

[1]	One time when I was admining an AIX box, my boss (who owned the
	company) thought he could hot-plus a new SCSI drive to the main (and
	only) system.  Nope.  Total system corruption.

	Good news:  he had a backup.

	Bad news: The system had never been restored (i.e. the backup was
	never tested).

	I learned *a lot* about SMIT (and AIX) that day.

[2]	It was probably a debug option left in.

[3]	A lot of web hosting is done via "control panels."  I hate every
	single one of them.

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