Thursday, November 15, 2012

Announcing wsubi - a spiced-up way to manage scripts for Windows

I mentioned in my last post that I was planning to launch my first open source project on CodePlex in the near future. Well, that day is today! I've published and will be continuing to work on wsubi - a spiced-up way to manage scripts for Windows.

Why did I start the project? Well, partially because I've wanted to work on an open source project for a long time. But even though I consider myself to be a "big picture" person, it's been hard for me to come up with an idea that hasn't been done a dozen times already and can be accomplished within my limited timebox for recreational coding. Beyond that, it solves a problem I've personally experienced.

A couple of weeks ago, I read a great article from the crew at 37signals about a new tool called 'sub' that they came up with and shared on GitHub. Basically, it's a small set of bash scripts (Unix stuff, if you're not familiar) for managing all of the scripts their teams were creating to help manage and support their environments, and really just simplify and standardize common tasks. As Nick says in the original post:
"When I started my on-call shifts, we had pretty little in the way of automation for day-to-day issues. Tasks like SSH’ing into our cluster, starting a Rails console, or doing a deep search through our gigantic mail directories, were either shelved away in someone’s [personal folder], history log, or just ingrained into someone’s memory. This pain was also felt by a few other of my fellow programmers ... The secret to automation was simple: convention, and sharing. From one command, we can run a report for a customer ... , open a repo in [source control] ... , or even search across gigabytes of log data to hunt down a bug ..."
Wow, what a cool idea! As a developer and manager, I have seen this same thing on every single team I've worked with. Everyone on the team has a few really cool tools / utilities they've come up with to solve problems, but they aren't easily accessible to the other team members. Not intentionally of course, but just because there isn't a good way to collect, standardize and share them. My goal with 'wsubi' is simply to make a similar tool for other Windows / .NET users.

Anyway, I'd greatly appreciate feedback and suggestions on the project. The Documentation tab of the CodePlex site contains the base feature set, and there are a few to-dos on the Issue Tracker already that I plan to add in after posting an initial release. Hopefully this give you a sense of where I'm going with the project over the next few weeks.

I've had alot of fun working on the project so far, and am looking forward to announcing the initial release here in the not-to-distant future.