Two of the main strengths of OpenNMS as a network management application platform are the fact that it writes to a database and that most of the configuration is done via XML.
The database is sometimes invaluable in addressing a complex problem and while XML isn’t the easiest to use, since it can be parsed by both humans and machines the idea has always been to eventually have a configuration user interface for every file. Thus you could choose which method works best for you.
I like to tell a story of a trip I took to Australia where the client handed me a list of names, usernames, e-mail addresses and phone numbers for over 50 users and asked me to put them in OpenNMS. Rather than struggle to enter them in via the GUI (with some hard to catch transposition errors to be expected) I was able to save the list as a comma separated variable (CSV) file and then use a script to convert that to XML. I just dropped that into the users.xml configuration file and was done.
But some things can be a bit laborious to do by hand and a decent user interface would make things that much easier. One such task is dealing with SNMP MIB files for both events and data collection configuration. So I was very excited when I saw this video that Alejandro put together on his new UI feature.
Check it out. It runs a little over ten minutes and does a great job of demonstrating the functionality. Hats off to Alejandro and the rest of the team for pulling this together. You can find it in the 1.11 releases and it will be included in the next stable version of OpenNMS due in 2013.