GUI admin, shmooie admin

24 Feb 2003

RE: Glen's comment:

Enter JRun4 from Macromedia ( This tool absolutely rocks! The admin tools are superb, and it just works!

I must admit that I've only ever had good experiences with JRun. However, for me, GUI admin tools (or any admin tools in general) don't rank as a reason to use a particular J2EE container.

Admin tools are only useful for about 5-10% of a project; you know, that stage at the start of a project when you are trying to work out how-the-hell your particular J2EE container is meant to be configured. It is almost always a hard lesson to learn, but it is a lesson you only need to learn once in your life. And you don't need the GUI admin tools at all if your container has good documentation.

After that, on a real project, you will have your server/app config as part of your software configuration management process (SCM); i.e. you will have it all checked and versioned and, most likely, part of your Ant script. I never seem to use the GUI again.

So, sure, GUI's are good when learning about a product, but they aren't a major factor when I'm evaluating a J2EE container. But then again, maybe I wouldn't feel this way if I hadn't hung around hard-core unix-sysadmins so much.

PS: GUI admin tools do end up being useful "in production", apparently, when you are monitoring the health of a running system, etc. But I'm a coder, not a support engineer, so why would I care about that? :D

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