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Looking behind “An unexpected error has occurred” messages

posted March 31st, 2008 by Stephen Sanderlin
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At one time or another, almost everybody recieves an error while working in Project Server 2007’s Project Web Access. By default, SharePoint (and therefore Project Server 2007) are configured to present what are known as “custom” errors. These are an inherent part of ASP.NET that allow developers to create friendly error pages to report errors rather than the stock ones provided by the .NET Framework. These pages are generally simplistic and often leave out a great deal of information, such as stack traces. The reason for these pages is chiefly to spare the user the gory details of whatever unhandled exception just occurred. Unfortunately, not every error is or can be logged. This causes an obvious problem in Project Server deployments — especially when trying to resolve a transient error.




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EPM is a Business Enabler

posted March 24th, 2008 by Stephen Sanderlin
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When developing their software, Microsoft has always made ease of use and installation a priority. Microsoft puts a significant amount of effort into making the User Interfaces in their products efficient, intuitive, and friendly. This holds true for not only their client products, but also for their server products as well. Ease of deployment is one of the primary reasons why I love working with Microsoft products. Less time spent fighting through a difficult product installation means more time for implementing a truly integrated and comprehensive solution.




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Changes to the EPMFAQ Forums

posted March 18th, 2008 by Stephen Sanderlin
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In response to some comments from users, I’ve changed the verification method on the EPMFAQ Forums from CAPTCHAs (those little pictures with the text and squiggly lines that nobody can ever read) to question-based (things like “what color is the sky” and “2 plus 2 equals”). Let me know if anybody still has trouble with registration.

Please post your questions and comments on this to the EPMFAQ Website Discussion forum — you don’t have to register to post in this forum.

Popularity: 8%




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Consultants Provide Strategic Vision

posted March 14th, 2008 by Stephen Sanderlin
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In today’s modern business environment, most organizations are familiar with the concept of a technology consultant. However, while many organizations tend to use the title consultant and contractor interchangeably, the job of a consultant differs significantly from that of a contractor.

A contractor is typically a specialist in a particular discipline or product, often serving as staff augmentation or hired to perform a specific task. Typically, the job that needs to be done is relatively simple, but the organization lacks the capacity or skill to perform it. Contrast this with consultants, who are typically multidisciplinary generalists who specialize in the creation of one or more types of comprehensive solutions that leverage technology to solve business problems. They may or may not specialize in a particular platform or technology, and they may be very experienced technicians. As such, consultants may perform technical or implementation duties in addition to their other duties. When all is said and done, the true value of a consultant is their ability to “see the forest for the trees”, which is to say that they can view the work as a whole and strategize without getting overly caught up in the details until necessary.




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Scheduled Site Downtime

posted March 7th, 2008 by Stephen Sanderlin
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The EPMFAQ blog and forums will be going down at 3pm EST today for some maintenance work that I need to do with our hosting provider. The site should be back up by tomorrow morning, or at the latest, Monday.

Popularity: 7%



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Your Take: Language Packs and Customized Themes

posted March 6th, 2008 by Stephen Sanderlin
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One of my clients has recently deployed a Sandbox of Project Server 2007 with MOSS 2007 (both RTM versions). During the course of this deployment they installed a number of the SharePoint Language Packs, in addition to creating a custom theme for Project Web Access. After deployment, they started having problems with incorrect rendering of the ASPX pages, along with some people recieving numerous authentication prompts (sometimes up to 17). In addition, for some people the page renders correctly on the initial load but manifests these problems if refreshed.

I believe the problem is one of two things: the permissions on the custom theme files, or some unforseen interaction with the language packs. The client is presently conducting further testing to confirm this theory. I have also suggested they fully patch both PS and MOSS from RTM to the Post-SP1 Hotfix Rollup.



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