mojoFail - Lessons Learned

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2/14/2012 3:40:06 PM
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mojoFail - Lessons Learned

A co-worker and I are big supporters and promoters of mojoPortal on our campus; one more recruit and I think we win a toaster! Today we were talking about our lessons learned through mojoHardship. So here you go; I ask that you share with the mojoPortal community your mojoFails and your mojoSolutions so that we can all learn from our mistakes.

Here's one of mine -- recently rolled out a new skin but found the modal not working. After killing hours figuring out the problem I realized that I forgot to include the colorbox reference in the skins style.config.

2/14/2012 4:05:55 PM
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Re: mojoFail - Lessons Learned

Oh I'm sure I could think of a lot of these! My most recent one was when I wanted to replace a single DLL on our production server (Joe made a bug fix in the MySQL data layer of Form Wizard Pro). Being a cautious person and wanting to make the change as quickly and seamlessly as possible, I made a quick backup copy of the DLL file with Windows Explorer, then overwrote the original DLL with the new one.

BAM! Server starts spitting out 500 errors.

Uh oh, better copy the backup file over the top of the original. Whew, everything is working again. I go through the system log and come to find out that IIS is tied in so closely with the file system that when I made that backup copy while the site was up, it got incorporated as part of the running code, and the server was confused when I overwrote the original. So since I had an offline backup of the DLL from the previous night in case I needed it, I went ahead an just overwrote the original DLL and everything worked perfectly fine. Lesson learned!

3/9/2012 4:44:27 PM
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Re: mojoFail - Lessons Learned

Just to piggy back off of my colleague ("scrailsabck") above, I'll add the following sob story that happened to me a few weeks ago:

  1. I added the following key to my user.config file for a large site I run using mojoPortal: 
    <add key="aspnet:MaxHttpCollectionKeys" value="1200"
  2. I hit Save and then promptly moved on to other tasks
  3. Sometime during the morning of the following day the app pool reset, crashing the above site because I forgot to close the above tag properly.  Since I had meetings all morning, I had a number of e-mails/phone calls to answer once I got back into the office.  Oops.

Lesson #1 - Always touch your web.config file anytime you make even the simplest of changes to your user.config file, just in case you do something stupid, like I did.

Lesson #2 - Do not use the default mojoPortal error page, since it doesn't provide web dev contact information.  In case it's useful to someone, I created a little blog post at http://code.colostate.edu/know-when-your-site-goes-down-before-your-clients-do.aspx with a sample error page and a means of (hopefully) ensuring that you know when your site goes down before most of your clients find out (using a free tool called Uptime Robot).

3/10/2012 12:24:40 PM
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Re: mojoFail - Lessons Learned

That is a good one Shaun!

I think we all make our share of those kinds of mistakes over the years, I know I have. No matter how experienced we are or how sure we are that we know what we're doing to err is human, and in this multi tasking world its easy to make typo or a copy paste error or other simple mistake.

Good blog post too! Nice tip for error monitoring in addition to uptime monitoring.

Best,

Joe

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