Slinger's Thoughts

December 22, 2009

You would think they would have a better answer for that…

Filed under: SharePoint — slingeronline @ 2:28 pm

Recently I was tasked with adding some functionality to our SharePoint farms, and I started running into a very unique and troubling error.  I was trying to create a workflow using the Useful SharePoint Designer workflows solution from CodePlex.  Everything was going well, the workflow got created the way it was supposed to, but it wouldn’t run.  Instead I kept getting an error message. 

An update conflict has occurred, and you must re-try this action. The object SPWebApplication Name=”Web Application Name” Parent=SPWebService is being updated by domain account, in the SolutionManager process, on machine Machine Name.  View the tracing log for more information about the conflict.

I went to the tracing logs and didn’t find anything useful there.  So I went hunting around the internet for a solution.  Meanwhile I was also discovering that the issue was getting worse. I couldn’t delete a Web Application, I couldn’t create one, and more.  I tried any number of IISRESETs in order to resolve the issue, to no avail. In my Internet searching there were all of about 6 results for what I searched for and none of them useful. Fortunately I did find the solution.  But I also had an idea to make it easier to search for the solutions to problems when they do occur. Both after the jump.

Well, the solution was to clear the cache files on every web front end server I had in the farm.  Thanks to a nearly completely unrelated issue with similar results.  The details of the solution are here. The solution fixed the problem, but it got me to thinking, there has to be a better way to find solutions when a problem occurs.  As most of you are already aware, out of the box SharePoint provides an oh-so useful error message when something goes wrong.  An unexpected error occurred. “No sh— really? Tell me something I don’t already know!”  No doubt most of you have already edited your web.config files in order to provide you with useful information when something does go horribly awry.  If you haven’t, I highly recommend you do so.  Your users will only see the error messages page when something goes wrong, so I don’t think there’s really too much risk involved.  Besides, I’m sure they feel the same way that you do when they see that generic error message with a link to how to use SharePoint.

I’m just getting into learning about coding, and I had a thought.  I don’t know if it is feasible, but I would love to find a way to have an error message that was generated point you to the probable solutions for problems when they occur.  Maybe a way to put a marker in the code somehow, and when it doesn’t do what it is supposed to do, instead of getting sent to a generic error page, get sent to a page that has a solution or two for the headache you are experiencing.  “Hiccup” code in a manner of speaking.  The program hiccups, and you get a link to a page with the solution to the hiccup. No more Googling or Binging trying to find ever more elusive answers.  Hiccup-link-fix.  I realize that there is a vast amount of overhead involved in producing something like this, and they already have some generic error handling using the “try-catch” methodology.  This type of error handling would be much less generic, but infinitely more useful to us end users.  Either that, or lets have error messages that you can search on and actually get some results for a fix, instead of just links to other people having the same problem where they don’t have answers either.  (I can’t tell you how many times that has happened to me.)

I know that ideally nothing would ever go wrong and every piece of code for every program would be flawless.  I also know that realistically, you can almost count on something going haywire and causing you to lose sleep/hair/friends/sanity. Problems are going to happen. I got that.  Let’s have a better solution for finding solutions though.  That would be nice. 

Of course, I have no idea how to implement something like this, and the more complex the program, the more “hiccup” code it would need.  For some of us more pedestrian users it would be nice though. 

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1 Comment »

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