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Symptoms:

  • You keep getting the exception HRESULT: 0x800708C5 with the Active directory membership provider change password indicating that the password used does not conform to the domain password policy.
  • As an admin, you are able to update the user password using that same password.

 

Probable cause:

  • The active directory policy can be set to allow a “minimum password age”, i.e. users cannot change their own password before it is at least X days (default 1). The Administrator though does not have such restrictions when trying to update a user’s password.
  • This can be checked at Start->Administrative tools->Group policy Management->Navigate the tree to the domain-> default domain policy –>right click edit->computer configuration –>policies –>windows settings->security settings-> account policies->password policy->check the entry for “minimum password age”
  • If you want to reset it (mainly for development/testing purposes), just change it to zero. then go to command line gpupdate /force to apply the new policy

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CSS Cop

A FxCop for CSS style sheets: http://madskristensen.net/post/Introducing-CSSCop-FxCop-for-stylesheets.aspx

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http://blogs.msdn.com/b/pandrew/archive/2011/07/08/announcing-new-larger-content-database-size-limits-and-rbs-clarifications.aspx

The guidance for SP 2010 with SP1 has the limit for the content database at 4TB. That size includes the RBS BLOB files.

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A very nice idea on how to implement INotifyPropertyChanged Interface withouth having to pass the property name as a string can be found at http://blogs.u2u.be/peter/post/2010/06/14/How-to-implement-INotifyPropertyChanged-without-strings.aspx

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One of the most heated debates during Web sites or intranet designs are discussions were developers and designers discuss whether such a design or form or whatever is the best for the users.  In most of these discussions everyone is just assuming that what makes sense to himself/herself is what will make sense to users. In most of the times, actual users’ answer is “none of the above”.

For example, a 60 years old person who rarely uses a computer has serious trouble figuring out that hovering over a menu item will cause the menu to expand into the second level. For most designers or developers this is a no brainer. Same for floating panels or drag and drop operations and so on.

Most requirements documents mention actual users just in term of numbers; something like: expected number of users is X and expected number of concurrent users is Y and it is all about performance measures and not about knowing the actual users who will be using the system. Many developers and designers have never met the customers and can not even imagine how they look like or what they are actually using the machines. As a result, with unknown users, geeks are developing what they see best –for themselves.

Not understanding the end users is one sure way the application will not be a success. On the other hand, making really simple applications that targets the end users needs is one the reasons the IPod and the IPhone were smashing successes.

One the popular methodologies used to design a user-centric interface is the use of personas. Personas are imaginary users that are targeted during the design. There can be one or more personas for any given application. This is a good antidote for the problem of designing application for self rather than for the actual users (called mirror personas) For example, when designing Visual studio, Microsoft came up with three personas : Mort, the opportunistic developer, likes to create quick-working solutions for immediate problems and focuses on productivity and learn as needed. Elvis, the pragmatic programmer, likes to create long-lasting solutions addressing the problem domain, and learn while working on the solution. Einstein, the paranoid programmer, likes to create the most efficient solution to a given problem, and typically learn in advance before working on the solution.  (Reference: http://www.nikhilk.net/Personas.aspx )

The use of personas was introduced in the famous book “The inmates are running the asylum” ( http://www.amazon.com/Inmates-Are-Running-Asylum/dp/0672316498 )

Needless to mention, the success of this methodology depends on having personas that accurately represent the end users, otherwise it will be defeating the purpose.

This will help eliminate problems that are sure to come from discussions that go like this: For an application that is targeting people with very superficial knowledge of PCs:

  • Developer1 : How will the user be able to change that setting?
  • Developer2: Very simple, all they need to do is open this XML file and edit the corresponding node with the updated value.
  • Developer1: Cool, That means our application is generic and configurable.

Of course you can imagine the  users’ reaction when told to simply  open the XML file, look for the node “xyz”, etc. Even worse are the problems that may come out of such users actually trying to edit this XML file.

Personas can be equally helpful when trying to figure out what features may be most useful to “users” and what features can be scoped out of the project or how to prioritize features or releases.

References:

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An overview of the Microsoft online services : http://www.zimmergren.net/archive/2009/02/12/sharepoint-online-%E2%80%93-a-first-look.aspx Microsoft is now offering several products as an online service. This includes SharePoint 2007, Exchange 2007, Office Live meetings, Office communications.

Designing the perfect form: http://webdesigntuts.com/web-design/how-to-design-the-perfect-form/

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Tool to make sure that the feature used by a site collection is already installed: http://code.msdn.microsoft.com/WssAnalyzeFeatures

Completely remove a feature from a site collection: http://code.msdn.microsoft.com/WssRemoveFeatureFrom .this handles the problems when a site collection has a feature that is not installed (or is corrupt on the farm), in that case, stsadm -o deactivate will fail. This tool comes to the rescue in that case.

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