Do More Than Manage
Gord Schmidt's Ideas for Doing More with Microsoft Project Server
Summary Task

No One Goes Wrong with Letters

As a developer, I understand that providing flexibility to the user is a good idea. Anything that enables the user to do what they need to do is valuable. Of course, the more flexibility and function you provide, the more likely it will be for problems to occur. I have been burnt by this twice recently.

The first time I was integrating Project Server and another application. It seemed simple. The other application required a list of projects with certain attributes like title, project manager, and status on a nightly basis. I created a process that generated an XML file with the necessary information. We tested it out and things seemed fine. About one month into use, an error cropped up -- invalid character. XML files require special encoding to handle non-standard ASCII characters and one of the project names contained a special dash. My best guess is someone copied the project name from a Word document where the dash was converted to an em-dash. Since the other application wanted ASCII text, I enhanced my process to strip out non-standard characters.

The second time I got hit with this type of bug, it wasn't my code. I was setting up Active Directory synchronization with Project Server and none of the users would load. At the time we guessed and verified that it was the use of square brackets "[" and "]" in the names in AD. There is now a Hotfix (896103) to address this.

Posted by Gord Schmidt on Wednesday, April 13, 2005 | Permalink | Resolve