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WSUS 3.0: Developers' Blog: MMC & WSUS (Part 1)

WSUS 3.0: Developers' Blog: MMC & WSUS (Part 1)

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As promised, some thoughts on one of the key technologies used in the next version of WSUS's UI.  I'll try to key the titles with "Developers' Blog" - you can skip over the "color commentary" if you just want "How do I use WSUS" and "What's coming?"  I'm pointedly trying to avoid revealing new features - Bobbie gets to do that sort of thing.

When we started working on plans for WSUS 3.0, the development team had a choice to make.  Did we continue the HTML administration site, or make a break and go to something Win32 based? 

On the plus side for HTML, we had a great looking site (if it ain't broke, don't fix it) and administering a remote server was no additional development effort. 

On the downside: we had Javascript to support; XML generation; the HTML itself was so dynamic that WYSIWYG editors weren't much help; and none had readily available end-to-end compilers that helped us debug data transformations.  By the time we went from C# to XML to HTML and Javascript - a single bad code change was really hard to find.  This set of technologies were also responsible for performance issues as customers scaled up their deployments.  Using the existing UI, the administrator's view of the server was "stateless."  Every time you navigated to a different page, we had to generate everything from scratch.  You couldn't benefit from querying a list of updates on the server - then refer back to them later on.  Sort the list of updates? We had to query the server again for the updates, sort them, generate the XML, transform the XML to HTML... You get the idea... Changes in the dev team also meant we'd lost a lot of the great expertise in the existing technologies.  The developer responsible for much of the fantastic "look & feel" of the WSUS 3 UI is from the original dev team - you'll have him to thank for a tool that looks good beyond being functional.

So... Win32. 

(To Be Continued...  Hey, I've got code to write.  MMS is just around the corner, you know.  We're trying to avoid sending the presenter with a bunch of cardboard cut-outs and a sock puppet.  Send us feedback - Bobbie says you like to hear from developers, so here I am.)



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