Tuesday, October 19, 2004

I figure everyone has one now...

but I have a couple of GMail invites to give out. Three to be precise. If you are interested, leave me a comment to this post with:

Email Address (so I have a place to send it)
Favorite Ice Cream
Favorite Super Hero
The Air Speed velocity of an unladen swallow in flight
Anything else you might find amusing

I have no set criteria for distributing these, so we'll see what happens!

(Bribes are welcome! LOL)

In Search Of The Perfect Install, Part 5

I hit the AskBurton faq, and submitted this error code as a question. I recieved an immediate response(Thanks Rob!), pointing me to the correct spot in the FAQ. It made mention that this was a SQL related error, and gave some suggestions to try.

I did them all and tried again. Same error message.

I cleaned everything up, added the domain IP address to the HOSTS file on the TF server, and tried again. Same error message.

I finaly got smart and decided to look at the install log files (c:\Dpcuments and Settings\administrator\localsettings\temp) that I had seen others mention. In that file, the install errored out when trying to call the following stored procedure:

exec sp_grantlogin @loginame='VSTS\TFSIdentity'

I tried to run this statement directly against SQL Server in a query window, and it failed with a message saying it could not find the user in the domain. I added the domain to the HOSTS file on the database server and tried to run the statement. I recieved the same error message as before:

Windows NT User or Group 'VSTS\TFSIdentity' not found. Check the name again.

Added TFSIdentity to the admin group on the database server, recieved the same message.

Then I had a thought. I installed SQL Server before joining this computer to the domain. Hmmmm, I wonder if that could be the problem, and that I needed to be a member of the domain before installing SQL Server, to make sure all the plumbing works right? Can't hurt to try it.

So I uninstalled/reinstalled SQL Server. Ran the install. Same error.

Just wait till you see what the REAL problem was....

In Search Of The Perfect Install, Part 4

OK, so I have the database server up and running, and the VS2005 client machine up and running. So, time to tackle the Team Foundation Server.

Install Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition. No Problem.

I enlist the help of one of the network guys to turn this machine into a domain controller. No Problem.

I create the TFSIdentity user. No Problem.

Install/Configure IIS. No Problem.

Install Sharepoint Services 2.0. No Problem.

Install ADAM. No Problem.

Install 2.0 Beta Framework. No Problem.

I add my database server to the new VSTS domain. No Problem.

I check to make sure my database server and application server are logged in as the same person, with admin rights. They are.

I kick off the TF install. Everything is looking good. Until:

Unexpected Error installing this package. Error code is 26204

What? Or as Charlie Brown would say: "AAARRRGGGHH!!!!"

Stay tuned for what happens next.

More On User Interfaces

First off, I think it is so cool that I was mentioned in three different blogs, and quoted in two of them, especially when I read all three of those blogs. Very cool.

I agree completely with the statement John made:

If software looks bad, then it send a message about the quality of the product underneath

This statement speaks volumes of truth, and I have actually printed it out and posted it in my cube. (mmmmmm, cubes...)

Most of the development I do is ASP.NET. I usually sketch out a rough first draft of the interface while I am gathering the requirements and figuring out exactly what I will be doing. But I usually don't put a lot of time into making it look incredibly nice in the beginning, especially while we are proto-typing, because I feel the web interface can be easily modified, so it can wait until later in the process.

The problem I have found, which everybody knows about, is that, similiar to testing, by the time you get to later in the process, you no longer have any time, so the interface is slapped together, and it looks like it. (Wow, could I have put more commas into that sentence?) So I am taking something Steven just said to heart, before I start on my next project, which is:

don't forget the UI at EVERY stage of development

I think I might print this out too.

I have finally come to understand, as I mentioned in my previous post, that, to many end users, appearance means a heck of a lot, and the appropriate amount of time should be spent to make the UI of the application just as important as the actual meat of the app.

Ok, enough babbling, back to trying to install Team Foundation Server.

In Search Of The Perfect Install, Part 3

Up next, VS2005 Beta 1. Installed Windows XP SP1a. No Problem. Ooops! Dang registration again. I will have to figure out how to handle that soon. Installed Word, Excel, and Project. No Problem. Followed directions and installed VS2005. I only installed C#, VB, and Web parts. No Problem. Rebooted the machine.

As I logged back in and clicked on the icon, I felt a sense of dread fill me. What if I start getting those error messages again? I don't want to reinstall the operating system yet again!

The splash screen appears. I feel my pulse racing.

And the IDE opens! Hurrah! Let there be dancing in the streets and much celebration. We are so happy, we do the dance of joy!

Little did I know I was about to be dealt a major blow.

(ok, ok, it wasn't so major, maybe better classified as minor, or even just annoying, but you have to try and end on a cliffhanger, to leave your public wanting more)

Saturday, October 16, 2004

As An Aside

I find it really annoying that my company has blocked access to Yahoo Mail and Hotmail. Especially when I am using both those accounts for tracking information in relation to Team System and Beta Testing.

If for some strange, cosmic reason, you would like to reach me during the normal work day, email me at mickey.gousset@NOSPAM.bxs.com (obviously, take the words NOSPAM out of the email address).

In Search Of The Perfect Install, Part 2

I obtained a slightly better machine, so I am replacing the oldest of my machines with this one, which will be the SQL Server. For those who really care, my oldest machine's processor started with a PII, and the MHz started with a 2. I would like to point out, however, that SQL Server 2005 did install on the machine, and ran, albeit slowly, but it ran. But I digress.

Warning: for the next several posts, I may be attempting to discuss some networking topics. I am a programmer. Therefor, if I say something that is a blatent lie, it's just because I am stupid about some networking stuff. Ok, a lot of it, but that is why I have an MVP here at work (Congratulations to John Hann, who was just awarded it!) who I can bribe to help me.

Dang, two paragraphs and I still haven't gotten to my topic. Sometimes I ramble. Deal.

A quick mention about my setup. I have three machines, connected through a hub. They are on their own little network, and are not connected to our main network at all. My laptop is the only machine that has a DVD drive in it, so I connect my laptop into the hub to install things off the DVD.

I decided to take a different approach to my install this time. Let's tackle the SQL Server first. Installed Windows Server 2003 Standard on this machine. (Thank you again MSDN Universal!). First thing I did not think of was that Windows will want to register itself, and none of these machines have Internet access. Oh well, I'll try and deal with that before my 60 days runs out. No problem with the Windows install. Then I just followed the install instructions for the database tier. I set up IIS and installed SQL Server 2005.

I rebooted, voila, there was SQL Server. I feel much better about myself now, after my previous attempt at VS2005.

I haven't completely decided if I like the new Enterprise Manager, or whatever it is called now. I'm sure I will be using it a good bit, so we'll see how the interface grows on me.

In Search Of The Perfect Install, Part 1

I finally recieved (i.e. stole) three machines so I could try and set up the triumverate(SQL Server 2005, Team Foundation, and VS2005 Beta 1). First off, yes the machines are woefully underpowered, but beggers can't be choosers. They should still limp along well enough to evaluate the software. As an example of their under-poweredness, all three machines run at speeds less than 1GHz, and two of the machines have hard drives with less than 10GB space.

Should anyone feel like donating any machines to my cause, feel free! ;)

I decided to install VS2005 first, figuring it would be the easiest of the bunch. I install Windows XP SP 1a. No Problem. I install Word, Excel, and Project. No Problem( Thanks MSDN Universal!). I install VS2005 Beta 1, following the instructions. No Problem.

"This is GREAT!" I think.

Well, the install went great, so lets open up VS2005 and see what it looks like. I click on the icon and the splash screen opens. So far so good. Then I get the following error message:

Package 'VSDesignerPackage' has failed to load properly (GUID = {808529D3-625D-4496-8354-3DAD630ECC1B}.) Please contact package vendor for assistance. Application restart is recommended, due to possible environment corruption. Would you like to disable loading this package in the future? You may use 'denenv /resetskippkgs' to re-enable package loading."

I am presented with Yes/No buttons, and I choose NO

I get the same message again and I choose NO.

The application opened. Of course, now I am a little scared.

I decided to create a new ASP.NET web site( cause ASP.NET is da bomb!). I select File->New->Web Site->ASP.NET Web Site, and I get the following error message:

The format of the file 'System.Window.Forms, version=2.0.3600.0, culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089' is invalid.

I clicked the OK button, and am returned to the IDE.

So at this point, I do a google search on the above error messages, where I find a couple of people have had the same thing happen to them. Apparently though, MS has not been able to reproduce the error effectively, so the only solution at this point is to reformat and reinstall.

The Testing Time Bomb

ComputerWorld has an opinion piece about testing:

Here's the detonator: If a new release adds just 10% to the existing code base, the amount of testing that's required to be sure the new stuff works, and everything that used to work still does, is 110% of the previous release -- yet the time and resources applied to testing all of this functionality are at best flat release over release, and more likely declining. And, it was never more than a fraction of the development effort to begin with.

I liked her position that semantics does matter, and that we should possible call regression testing something else. Her idea of "operational assurance" is just as good as anything I can come up with.

Of course, with testing tools like Team System, we can always make sure we cover our bases! (Had to put the plug in there!)

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

IBM - Code Name "Atlantic"

Infoworld has an article on the upcoming IBM Software Development Platform, Atlantic:

Discussed at the Rational Software Development User Conference in July, Atlantic is set to focus on modeling and testing along with remote clients. The platform is due to ship later this year, IBM said at the conference.

Hmmmmm, sounds kinda like Team System, in my opinion.....

My Day At Work a.k.a SQL Server 2000 rears its ugly head

A shameless plug for my other blog.

Look, a Team System Post(kinda)

Finally got three machines at work to begin installing the latest Beta on. Of course, they are horribly underpowered, but one step at a time.

Keep your fingers crossed!

Shipping Software: The End Game

Thanks to Rob Caron for pointing out this interesting article at Directions on Microsoft, concerning the stages Microsoft goes through in releasing software.

As Microsoft’s products move from development to shipping, they go through a set of interim releases designed to give Microsoft feedback on their contents and quality and help customers plan for deployment. Earlier releases help determine the features and architecture of the product while later ones serve primarily to shake out bugs. Customers and partners involved in these programs must understand their purpose to avoid either wasting time by evaluating a product too soon or missing opportunities to influence design by waiting too long.
Being an internal corporate developer, building apps for departments, I suppose we go through a similiar process, but it is not near as rigid or defined. I more follow a rapid prototyping, which would be more like a series of Alpha stages (or maybe Beta, I try not to show the customer too much that does not work).

One thing I have found though, is that appearance is everything. I can have all the functionality working perfectly, and it does everything the customer wants, but if I have not prettied up the final site, they are always very negative towards testing it. However, if I have prettied up the site, even if have the stuff on there does not work, they are always more positive toward the application. Go figure.