December 9, 2005
Monad: Introducing the New MSH Command Shell and Language for Windows
Sebastopol, CA--Of all the new products that Microsoft has made available
in beta release over the past year, Monad might be the least known. But
this new interactive command line and scripting language is essential for
those who want to reduce the number of repetitive management steps in
Windows systems. "At last, to the relief of administrators and power users
everywhere, the command line is truly becoming a first-class citizen in
the world of Windows system management," remarks Andy Oakley, lead program
manager at Microsoft and author of Monad (O'Reilly, US $34.95).
As the first look at this powerful technology, Oakley's new book features
more than forty hands-on labs and scripts. Each activity is designed to
familiarize users with key Monad concepts and features, or to showcase its
flexibility and power. The purpose of this quick guide is to get readers
using the technology as quickly as possible.
"As a daily user of Windows in a software development environment, I've
been longing for a toolset that offers a quick and easy way to solve any
problem that crops up--from moving files or doing quick data analysis to
coordinating the several machines I use across the course of a day,"
Oakley explains. "As soon as I became aware of Monad it immediately
captured my attention as the toolset I'd been waiting for."
Known formally as MSH, Monad offers many innovative features in the field
of system administration and management, designed to replace a host of
Windows management tools with a single unified shell for Windows Server
2003, Windows XP, and Windows Vista. Built on the .NET Framework, Monad
provides a powerful infrastructure for the automation of a wide range of
administrative tasks, from setting up automated build environments to
managing 200 desktops in an organization.
"Monad is readily usable in its current state, and my book covers a number
of different potential uses," Oakley points out. "If you're someone who
finds your fingers habitually drifting toward the c-m-d keys, or if you
have a background in using other shells, on Unix-like platforms, for
example, this book is definitely for you. Console-based command-line
interaction has come a long way and there's plenty of new stuff to
see--even if you're just intrigued by this new technology."
The format is "a cross between an O'Reilly 'Hacks' book and a getting
started guide that can easily be read and absorbed in a short period,"
Oakley says. "It offers a whistle-stop tour of the features already
available in beta that can be downloaded for free from Microsoft.com." The
book provides complete instructions for installing the Monad shell, a
quick reference to syntax and grammar, along with standard Monad cmdlets,
functions, and aliases. Other topics include:
Using and personalizing the interactive command shell
Writing Monad scripts and automating recurring operations
Working with Windows, including WMI, the event log, the registry, system
services, and even the .NET Framework
Extending the basic Monad toolkit and performing everyday tasks, from
manipulating files to monitoring active processes
"Each lab introduces a task, shows readers how to do it, and explains what
happens when MSH runs the command or script used in the lab," explains
Oakley. "In addition, each lab tries to answer common 'What if?' questions
and offers suggestions for further reading. This book lets readers see for
themselves how MSH can improve their productivity."
While Monad is not intended to be a comprehensive volume covering every
aspect of MSH or Windows system administration, the book is the perfect
"pick up and go" guide that complements existing MSH documentation.
Included is a forward by Jeffrey Snover, Microsoft's Monad Architect.
"Monad is the future of Windows administration," Oakley contends, "but
now's the time to get started."
ISBN: 0-596-10009-1, 185 pages, $34.95 US
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