04 Jun 2008

MSCRM 4.0 Developer Errors: My new pet hate

So if you follow all the posts on this site you'll know that I am involved with a hosted MSCRM system.  This is a great system as it allows multiple customers to share a single deployment, and while it has seperated most of the functions so that each customer is seperated nicely there are a few that are not. Developer errors are one of those, if you enable them, you enable them for all customers.

As a hosting providing I do not want to have to enable it globally as it means that the user interface for an error is ugly and I do not want to have to take individual support calls for customers to turn it on and off all the time.
17 Mar 2008

Undocumented MSCRM 4.0 Requirement

Just what I love at 4pm on a Friday afternoon, finding a undocumented requirement for a product while sitting in front of the client. Anyway, it appears that the location of the MSCRM Monitoring (what ever that is, I found this by checking the install logs) is set in the installer to C:\Program Files regardless where you put MSCRM itself. Even worse is that it is not <System Drive>\Program Files, it is C:\Program Files. I have NO C: on this box (dunno why, but thats what IT provided).
I suspect you can work around this by creating an unattended installation (see the implementation guide for creating the XML files for that), but I'm actually lucky enough to have an empty second drive I can change the drive letter to C (using disk manager).

Add to this that nothing actually appears on C: once I fixed the issue (assuming it is checking for something, and that is failing and thus the issue). So all that I have left to do is:


01 Mar 2008

AA Rates

NOTE: This was developed in March 2008 and the calculations are no longer accurate. They are close but not exactly right.
Update 11 August 2011: Want this as an app for your smartphone? Click here

A personal annoyance at the moment is the use of the term AA rates. It seems companies love to tell employees they pay at AA rates or charge customers at AA Rates. However due to a recent annoying experence I decided to read up on this, and to findout what the AA rate actually is.

Well imagine my surprise when I didn't find one magic overall AA rate! What I did find is there is a AA rate per vehicle, so how you get one rate is beyond me (I guess you could take the avg value of everyone in the company, but that sounds like too much work for admin/financial staff who need to update it each time someone joins/leaves).

Anyway I decided to take that and some of the Excel skills I have been taught recently and build a nice Excel speadsheet (2007 version) which works it out for you (download below). You can get the details on the rules and the fuel price (which you will need) from the AA site.

File AARates.xlsx30.5 KB
21 Jan 2008

Not have enough privilege to complete Create operation for an Sdk entity.

The following error message is likely the least thought out requirement of MSCRM 4.0 and a common cause of frustration for developers in enterprise customers who are using the multi-tenancy features.
 Not have enough privilege to complete Create operation for an Sdk entity.

You get this error during an attempt to register a workflow activity or plug-in into MSCRM 4.0, and you may think that to do this customisation you need atleast the System Customizer role. Well you are wrong, you need higher than that. In fact the highest role for an organisation (System Administrator) isn't even enough. You need to be Deployment Administrator. This role is assigned on a server level, in the Deployment Manager tool and gives that user full powers on all organisations!
The reason I think this is badly thought out, is three fold. Firstly, I do not want to enable developers to see certain things in MSCRM in live enviroments (thus the great System Customizer role) but I want them to do the customisations. The second is if I have a developer working in a certain division or group company with it's own MSCRM organisation, I really don't want to let that developer loose on other organisations on the server (security and stability reasons). Lastly I don't want to have to give access to the server to more people than absolutely needed, and as I now need to be able to set people up to be Deployment Administrators from time to time it means extending that group of people. Anyway heres hoping MSCRM 5.0 will fix it ;)
28 Dec 2007

Microsoft Live Support = Worst Support: The Issue

So I have a problem, just a small one, when I go to any Passport/Live site and sign in, it fails. Only the first time, second time always in. Nothing serious I can work, but I thought maybe I should log this with Microsoft and maybe they can fix it? Since it is happening across multiple machines I am sure it's an account issue.

So off I log the call with all kinds of info (including I use Vista solely now on my work and home machines) and go though a few simple check emails. Annoyingly I get a new person on each email. Maybe I am spoilt from partner based support where the same person responds and they know whats going on, but getting a new person who is obviously not checking what has been done before and simply sending crap is getting too much. The last email broke the camels back. Why?

THEY TOLD ME TO UNINSTALL IE7! I mean for fucks sake, it's been out for year and is a flag ship product for Microsoft and support thinks it's the cause!?!? Worst is (and bonus points for you if you picked this up) Vista ships with it, there is no uninstall back to IE 6!?!I've attached a screenshot of the email in case you think I am crazy.


Image icon omg.png34.18 KB
13 Nov 2007

RegularExpressionValidator Designer Will Die

Working with Microsoft software is often a ride of highs and lows. Highs caused by a tiny feature which changes your life. These tiny features are the spark of genius from some lowly dev in Redmond which makes the magic happen (my favorite is the fact you can copy and paste the MSCRM license code into the installer and fills in all the blocks at once, not just the first block like other installers. Office 2007 has a similar good idea).

However there is the other side, the lows of the idiot. The people think about problems so much they forget how the rest of the world works/sees there item and thus makes it work in odd ways (MSCRM team bastardizing relationships in 3.0 to build certain things. Thankfully fixed in 4.0).

Today though I met another one of these issues, the RegularExpressionValidator in ASP.NET. You give it a RegEx to validate against and guess what it validates against that. Good, expected, normal. Here's the issue, leave the field blank or put only spaces in the field and BOOM! No validation! The workaround, and it is a workaround since this is supposedly by-design, is two validators per field (RegEx and Required!). I mean for heaven sake this is retarded. There is no reason why it should be like that, and if there is WHY OH WHY is there no property to make it work logically/illogically.

Let it be said that if I find you, Mr RegularExpressionValidator Designer Guy/Girl, you will pain for the torture you have caused me to go back through every field in my app and add another validator!

27 Aug 2007

Office could not create the work file error

Suddenly today both outlook and word decided to start giving a new error message when I tried to launch: "could not create the work file. check the temp environment variable". After hitting OK it would launch. This is an odd one, and I am not sure of the cause (I have a theory I'll ponder below) but the solution was to run a check disk (chkdsk c: /F). Which fixed it nicely. I saw a number of security descriptor (AFAIK it was that, not an MCSE here) issues during the chkdsk, so I suspect something got corrupted.

The cause of the corruption may have been that over the weekend the IT team where I worked migrated everyone to a new domain via profile copy (doubt thats it) and deactivated UAC on the Vista users (think thats it). I am a UAC fan and turned it on again (using the msconfig tool) this morning and I think somewhere between being non-UAC admin and UAC admin the security catalog got confused causing the error. Just my pondering and I have no proof or way to test it (or interest in trying to get it to happen again) so take it with the pinch (handful, bucket, truck) of salt as needed.

06 Aug 2007

Horrible web UI

I really don't get to use the annoyances tag enough :) For some reason despite the fact I am annoyed almost daily I don't blog about it. But this sort of justified it! It's from the Unreal Tournament 3 site. When you get to the site you get presented with 3 drop downs and no explanation for what they are for.