IBM WebSphere 7 (currently in beta) comes a property-file based configuration tool that provides a "human-consumable" interface to the currently XML-based configuration repository of the application server. This is another proof that XML is simply not the right mechanism for managing configuration of complex software products.

From the release notes:

Properties (name/value pairs) files are more consumable for human administrators than a mix of XML and other formats spread across multiple configuration directories.

Kudos to IBM for recognizing that.

It is still not clear though how hierarchical relationships between configuration objects will be supported.

Back in WAS 6 world, I've been using a simple jython script that converts python named parameters into wsadmin format. This is an example of a resource described in this format:

 WASConfig.DataSource(parent="testJDBCProvider", name="testDS", jndiName="jdbc/testDS",
                              description="Test DataSource", propertySet=dict(
                                  dict(name="dbName", value="testDB", type="java.lang.String" ),
                                  dict(name="connectionAttribute",value="", type="java.lang.String")

I think that a slightly more streamlined python-based format will be superior to properties.

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