There are two kinds of applications: end-user applications and server or custom applications. End-user applications are applications that people use to solve a specific task in their job. Examples include a word processor or spreadsheet. Although this chapter does not contain solutions that would be of general interest to end- user client applications, it does not mean that some parts of it cannot be used.
The other kind of application is a server or custom application. These kinds of applications might be written in-house or by a software vendor. Regardless, these kinds of applications are used by people who are trying to solve business problems, but are managed by people called administrators. Administrators are professionals who might not program, but are very well versed in computer software.
In the server and custom application world, administrators have certain needs that the application's programmer often has not fulfilled. A programmer will often write an application and instruct the administrator to install it and distribute it. The problem often is that there might be problems that have to be diagnosed. Perhaps the administrator cannot diagnose the problem because the application does not have log files, or maybe it cannot be installed in the manner desired by the administrator. In the end, it is like having the administrator trying to fix a car when the hood is welded shut. The solution to this dilemma is for the developer to add certain features that make an administrator's life simpler. The task in this chapter, therefore, is how to make an application administrator friendly.