Dan's Blog

I am Principal Program Manager at Microsoft leading the Business Platform Division's (BPD) community team. BPD includes SQL Server, SQL Azure, BizTalk, AppFabric, and other technologies and services.

Specialized Utility Tools

Specialized Utility Tools

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I've never been a big fan of products that liter my hard drive and start menu with little specialized tools. Visual Studio does this. Office does this. Even SQL Server does this with the Surface Area Configuration and SQL Provisioning tools. IMHO this results from the lack of a comprehensive GUI strategy. These and other products need a model for handling specialized scenarios. Creating little stand-alone tools doesn't benefit anyone.

The justification their existence usually follows the arguement that the scenarios supported by the tool are "special" and require a "different" GUI to provide a "better" or "customized" user experience.

Rubbish. 

If these teams (mine included) were doing it correctly the GUI framework would provide a mechanism for creating different groupings of functionality to support different scenarios. For example, why can't I launch Management Studio and select a Security view or a Performance view? Each respective view would display the product from this particular perspective. It would hide anything that is considered superfulous to the scenario. Further it would provide easy-to-understand instructions on how to interact with the scenario. For the advanced user there would be an option to hide the supportive text.

One of the key components introduced by DMF (Declarative Management Framework) is the concept of a Facet. The facet may be the starting point for creating an experience in SSMS as described above. But it'll take a few releases to truly realize this vision.

Oh and these scenario-based perspectives wouldn't only be available in the GUI but also the command-line interface.

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