Lotus Notes 8.5.2 code error – The Tale of Regression


 

I am part of a Domino migration at a large client in the financial/insurance industry and we have been moving applications from Domino 6.5.5 to version 8.5.2 FP1. I know, there are newer versions out there but you can’t always upgrade blindly – this is going to be one of the stories why IN-DEPTH testing is so important.

The client has an application that has been around since R5 days, migrated and upgraded several times – both client and server versions and never an issue.

Suddenly we get reports (during testing – thank GOD!) that when using the app with the new client (LN 8.5.2 standard) that certain document do not get created – they vanish.

To make a L O N G story short – we opened a ticket with IBM support and after digging and prodding they produced this one for us:

(from the actual ticket)

******************* SUBSEQUENT CALL RECORD TEMPLATE  *******************
ACTION TAKEN:                                                           
Created a test DB in 85 and copied customer form and data.              
Found field “eml” caused the issue: SPR RDJS8APTK6.  

This is a regression error that made its way back into the Lotus notes 8.5.2 code stream. It was fixed in Notes 8.5.3 but if you are on 8.5.2 (no matter the FP level) you are snorked.

What we did

Since it is hard to determine with any certainty how many other applications out there might contain a filed called “eml” the decision was made to do a company wide, mid-project change and instead of rolling out Notes 8.5.2 we will be rolling out 8.5.3 and upgrading all workstations to which 8.5.2 has been deployed previously. A huge undertaking.

Had this not been found during testing it could have been very costly for my client.  As is, the change in scope will be massive and costly as well, but it beats having actual business processes interrupted and clients (actual consumers) be impacted.

So – the lessons everybody should take home from this:

  1. Test – always test even if it is a small point upgrade
  2. Test – with ALL server and client variations that you might have in your environment – do not skip anything
  3. Have test plans that are captured and documented across each scenario and can be compared apples-to-apples.
  4. DO NOT NAME ANY FIELDS, FORMS (or anything else for that matter)  IN YOUR APPLICATIONS “EML” – this error could possibly be re-introduced in a future code stream – you never know.

 

 

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Blackberry Express for Domino – Finally here


I am not the first one to find this, I actually only noticed after going through my feeds and stumbling on it in Volker Weber’s blog . IT IS FINALLY HERE! We are now officially no longer the unwanted, redheaded stepchildren of RIM – we have our own BES Express server! Go here …

 

PS: with all this early stuff that VOWE knows, does he ever really work? The eternal questions never stop …. it’s all envy anyway! 🙂

Domino 8.5.1 Technote – Fixup can crash your server


I came across this technote yesterday and investigated it right away …

– well, I’ll admit it – I asked somebody else in IBM to clarify some items for me and am now plagiarizing that good deed on my blog – THANKS CAROL!!

First of all – this only applies to Domino 8.5.1 on Windows, and it makes no difference which FP you are running since it was not fixed in FP4 nor will a fix be included in FP5 either, it is fixed in 8.5.2 though – you guys are safe.

 

The Issue Explained:

The issue CAN be cause by running FIXUP with a combination of either [fixup -F -J] or [fixup -F -J -O]. It will not automatically happen, it has to run into a document in a dB that has ‘invalid items” .. what exactly constitues such “invalid items” is not 100% clear but I am treating it like a 50-50 chance for failure until I have more evidence/experience or a better explanation of what exactly is meant with “invalid items”.

Exception:

Since the explanation implies that the behavior only happens if you also include the [-J] switch, servers that are not not transaction logged will not be affected, even if they are on Windows. Also, if you are running Domino on any other platform this will not affect you – so my dear Linux buddies are all safe, as are you AIX, iSeries and mainframers as well.

 

What does this mean in terms of daily admin work?

Well, the [-J] is needed anytime you want to run fixup against transaction-logged databases and [-F] is a very commonly used switch as  well. [-O] basically tells fixup to also run against open databases and is the default bahavior if you specify a database name with the fixup command.So the command [load fixup mail/xxx.nsf -J -F] implicitly includes the [-O] switch behavior whether you add it to the command or not.

That leaves you with the option to run Fixup without the [-F] switch to avoid a  *possible* kiss of death.

 

Advice:

if you are running the fixup command as part of some regular, automated script (I usually advise against it) you need to review the commands to make sure yo do not inadvertently crash your server (possibly, it is not a guaranteed outcome).

Also, when running Fixup against databases during the day to fix database corruption of any kind, I would run it without the [-F] switch during the day and see if your problem is fixed. If that does not fix your database problem, you can either roll the dice or wait until after hours – which is what I will do until I have tried it out a few times and have a better feel whether this actually ever materializes or not.

DCLug Meeting – 09/23/2010


I have been working for a client full time in DC for a few months now and some members of the DC Lug are at the same place – so after some beating and whipping by them I joined the DC Lotus User Group a month ago or do (it still hurts …)

Now, for the first time in a while (should I take credit??) there will be a DCLug meeting on Sept. 23 3-5. The meeting details are here.

There is also a DC Lotus Professionals group on LinkedIn that I think is a great resource to join as well. If you have a LinkedIn profile (I hope you do) and are anywhere in the greater Washington D.C. area, you should join that group.  Here is a link to join that group.

New Series: The Foreign Source – Introduction


Something I have been planning to blog about for some time now is how there is so much Lotus related material out thre that is not being generated by US or other English sources. If you follow PlanetLotus.org you will often see non English posts pop up but what I think allot of readers of Lotus related material world-wide might not be that aware of is just how much great material there is out there if you just go and dig a bit. I am calling this new series [The foreign Source] or TFS for short (how many series do I have now? I am running out of fingers to count).

Let’s go and explore – I’ll start with a favorite of mine: The Lotus Germany blog

It actually resides on a German Lotus Connections install that is publicly available and lists allot of great content. Some of it, of course, is duplication of other sources (it is IBM after all) but allot of it is unique and most of what they put out is in English.  Add that feed to your reader and see what they have to offer. I sometimes read of something in their feed before I hear of it in other US feeds.

IamLUG: The Best tool you never heard about …


Just sat through the TDI session of Marie Scott and Tom “Duffbert” Duff. Really good. I work with TDI when implementing Lotus Connections mostly and use it sometimes outside of that but I did get allot of value out of this. I think EVERYBODY in the audience got something out of it. when you have a chance, download the session when it becomes available, well worth the time to look at it.

IamLUG 2010 – going, going, going, GONE!


I will be attending IamLUG 2010 this year, and am very much looking forward to thew whole affair again. Once more, I will be accompanied by cheap slave labor (aka my son Kenneth) who will be helping out as a room monitor again. Insofar as I am paying for his trip and tickets to a Cardinals game (it’s his birthday) IamLUG is not free for me 😉 – he also eats allot and I will be passing a hat around during sessions asking for donations to help me keep this monster fed.

Looking forward to seeing y’all there!