For some strange reason, I still get surprised at how bad Microsoft is at designing user-interfaces. And now I'm not even talking about the graphical ones. The command-line has long been viewed at Microsoft as something inherently evil: everything must have a graphical interface to be deemed usable; command-line tools are by definition user-hostile. Which, of course, is not true. Badly designed command-line tools are user-hostile, just as badly designed graphical user-interfaces are user-hostile. And Microsoft is pretty good at doing both.
Microsoft does not lack good interface designers. Where they really put in the effort, the result is sometimes really good. For example, I like the new Office-toolbar and the interactive display of keyboard shortcuts (even if it's a little annoying to have to relearn the entire user-interface. Every single command seems to have been moved), and the new dialogs with big descriptive buttons instead of just yes/no buttons. Also, I like the new Google Chrome. No wait, wrong company.
But the command-line tools seldom get any attention (with the possible exception of PowerShell, which I haven't tried yet). When will we get a new Windows console, for example? With a real font selection dialog, proper resizing, etc.?
The tool which actually caused my bloodpressure to exceed the "must-blog-about-it" point, is CACLS. CACLS is a tool for displaying or modifying the ACLs for files and folders. I wanted to use it to be able to remove a write-protected file (a file checked out by svn with the svn:needs-lock attribute), and I wanted to do it in an automated test.
Guess what: CACLS will ask the user for confirmation when changing permissions, and there is no option to turn it off. What is the BLOODY POINT of having a command-line tool which cannot be used from a script or bat file? The workaround is apparently to do "echo Y | cacls ...", but still. How hard can it be to add a single flag to switch on/off the question?
Now I'll go back to work and try to figure out how to prevent interactive dialogs blocking my automated build.