Thursday, June 12, 2003

helpful error messages

Many of us out there (and me in here, included) have ranted, raved, and exchanged chuckles about the unhelpful and incongruous error messages and dialog boxes that Microsoft's Windows suite of Operating[sic] Systems and Office Products have been throwing back at us hapless users. Based on my recent and past experience, MSFT's hot competitor (and leading bemoaner) Oracle deserves mention (nay, a crown) in this category. Here are two pieces of evidence:

* I once (well, yesterday) tried to deploy a J2EE application developed using the features and conveniences[sic] provided by JDeveloper to an Oracle9iAS (that's Application Server) installation. With Oracle all the way from start to finish, there shouldn't be any problems right? Unless I wrote some bad code. But then I was deploying code that compiled sans errors or warnings. The only thing that should have gone wrong was with the "business" logic. The usual messages scrolled up in the tiny window at the bottom of the IDE. And then there were a couple of blank lines. And then a line that said nothing except "ADM 300075' or something to that effect. A Google search returned nothing. And Metalink wasn't useful either. So now I'm stuck wondering what went wrong. As it turns out, following a day of suffering and geekish-Do_It_Yourself, I figured out that JDeveloper had written a bad deployment descriptor for the Application Server. When wizards and auto-generation aids go wrong, what convenience must we hapless derive, I ask!

* Been helping my boss get Oracle9iAS set up on his workstation. I've tested this out on similar systems and I envision no problems. But one of the components fails at installation time. And apart from the "blah blah blah failed to start" all I had in terms of an error message was the number 2. Now if I were reading Douglas Adams I might have appreciated the irony and humour. But this was not funny. Still haven't figured out what 2 was ... Perhaps a count of the number of installations completed? (highly unlikely, since I unleashed my patent-pending DIY clean uninstallation magic toolbox on the workstation before each installation). Perhaps the time of the day? Yeah, right, somewhere in the world. What was that Slash album again? aah, It's 5 O' Clock Somewhere

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