Why can't I just come straight to the SQL Forum

Last Post 29 Sep 2004 08:34 AM by mmcginty. 15 Replies.
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mmcginty
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30 Apr 2004 12:53 PM
I have a had a link on my links bar to this forum for some time. After your last revamp my trusty old link started taking me to the all-forums page. I figured redirect or DNS rework, no big deal. After awhile I became tired of scrolling to the bottom to get to this forum, so I changed my link to the URL shown by IE when I made it to my intended destination (this forum.)

That URL would be http://www.winnetmag.com/SQLServer/Forums/ Unfortunately, to my shock and disappointment, that link still gets me the all-forums main page. Then I looked at the URL in the anchor tag on that page that gets me here, and it was the same as I had in the first place!

So it appears to be some level of session cookie trick, as the follow-up links that are emailed to me if I subscribe to a thread do the same damn thing, I have to click the link in email, let it open the all-forums page that you apparently want me to see so badly, then go back to the email and click the link again. That sucks!

Whoever it s in your marketing dept that cooked-up this draconian scheme, fire them immediately, and dock the programmer[s] a day's pay for lacking the ethics to refuse to implement it. (Fellow programmers unite, jobs are easy, you don't have to do everything they ask, if it compromises your ethics and/or sensibilities, just say NO!)

If this is a side-effect, and/or unintended behavior, then FIX IT! It's been this way for weeks, it's rediculous as well as annoying. (If that's the case, it's an excuse, not a reason.)

When I bookmark a link, and click to return to a page I want to see, it should take me there (or as close as is technically possible), no where else, bottom line, end of story. Anything else is abusive and causes inconvenience -- and oddly enough makes me substantially LESS inclined to explore your other forums.


tia,
Mark
mmcginty
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01 May 2004 07:59 AM
Hi Pete thanks for the reply.

I tried to follow your steps, it seemed like I had it, but now back to square 1. I fired-up Ethereal to see what's actually going on, the server is both sending a 302 redirect *and* generating a page with just a meta http-equiv refresh tag that takes you to the all-forums page.

I realize it's not your issue and I totally appreciate you taking the time to reply... it's encouraging to know that there is a way, I'll try again later when I'm less frustrated.

And to avoid taking it out on you, I think I'll put the rest of my sentiments in another post. :-)

Thanks,
Mark
mmcginty
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01 May 2004 08:19 AM
Attention Admins/Developers/Marketeers:

I fired-up Ethereal to see what's actually going on, the server is both sending a 302 redirect *and* generating a page with just a meta http-equiv refresh tag that takes you to the all-forums page. This is no accident, that's more than clear.

I've changed my mind about a fitting punishment as stated in my earlier post, the programmers should be fired, to teach them a lesson about integrity. The responsible marketeers should be burned at the stake! (Green wood, no mercy!) Seriously there are porno sites that treat their users with more respect!

The thing is, it's just not supposed to be this difficult, it really shouldn't require any effort at all to return to the section of a very large web site that's of most interest. That's the way it's just supposed to be!

But evidently there's *someone* down in marketing that doesn't think this little scheme of users and their bookmarks is quite good enough, eh? "Why should we concern ourselves with what mere users want? Silly users don't really even know what they want anyway. They'll take a nice wide-angle panoramic view of ALL our forums, and they'll like it!"

Your sleazy little ploy is every bit as offensive as a bunch of popups that each open 2 more when closed -- it's the same thing! The user enters a URL to go one place, but you intervene and take him to another, there is no difference between what you're doing, and the most deplorable web site behavior that's been implemented. You're manipulating the navigation of my browser without my consent, plain and simple.

In closing let me tell you what I don't want out of this nasty-gram: I do NOT want some apologetic corporate spin crap promising to "look into it," and telling me how much you "appreciate my input" because that makes me want to spew. What I do want is a URL that will take me where I want to go, or better still, you could cease and desist with your heinous little ploy.

If you can't honor that one simple request, then do us both a favor and save your boiler plate for someone else that might be naive enough to think it means anything.

tia

-Mark

BAnVA
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01 May 2004 04:10 PM
Preach on brother!

We've been posting critiques of this site for months and I honestly think the feedback goes out into la la land. It will be interesting to see if anyone at WINNT Mag/SQL Mag actually reads this stuff and gets up off of their ass to fix the issues. We're talking about changes that should take at most a day to fix, unit test, QA, and release even in the worst systems shop.
mmcginty
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01 May 2004 04:37 PM
Right on! Their filthy little redirect ploy shouldn't take more than a couple minutes to undo, that thing has got to be responsible for a range of flaws. Even if they worked on it live and broke a few things momentarily, we'd be better off.

Was it you that suggested they tap the subscribers as a programming resource in another thread? I couldn't agree more, those of us who use this thing regularly would surely do a better job... except this site is written in Cold Fusion, eeesh. That's one dev tool I personally could live without... bah what the hell, for the good of the community, I'd do it. :-)

-Mark
BAnVA
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01 May 2004 05:23 PM
Yep. That was my suggestion. No feedback from WinNT Mag on that comment either, although a few others were also willing to pitch in to help.

I think the forum part of the site works ok for canned software, and I really don't have issues with the way it is working. I just get frustrated with the lack of usability for the other portions of the site. There's no need to produce the whole site from a cookie cutter - give the various sections some personality and make it easier to navigate. The whole re-direction thing is just horrible and probably the MOST inexcusable issue is the complete lack of testing before anything is released. There were numerous scripting errors (even in IE 6) and the whole integration of SQL Mag into WinNT Mag was totally unprofessional. The first attempt failed. They took the site down for days with really no explanation. The did lose postings. It's as if the developers and IT managers who work on this site have never heard of the systems development lifecycle. Ever heard of doing a little internal QA and regression testing on a development environment before releasing guys? How about a fire drill dry run before an actual release to determine how much down time would occur? How about performing the migration over a weekend instead of the middle of the week in the middle of the day? What about a CLEARLY VISIBLE message to users keeping them in the loop with downtimes, etc. Hello!? Mc Fly!?

I really think they need to just hire someone for a few weeks to do some IT evaluation, housecleaning, and reorganization and get them back on track.
mmcginty
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01 May 2004 06:23 PM
> I really think they need to just hire someone for a few weeks to do some IT evaluation, housecleaning, and
> reorganization and get them back on track.

Exactly, someone who doesn't have integral ties to their office politics, and isn't afraid to kick some ass if it needs kicking!

Sadly I fear that chances of that happening are pretty remote, you gotta figure that redirect scheme flatters someone's market penetration report somewhere. It gets an additional page impression from me every time I visit the site -- not to mention all the activity trying to make it work right... multiply that across the user base and call it a market trend.

So we'll get a "sorry you're so twisted up about this," and a "our techs are looking into this issue," and maybe an attaboy for being so proactive and expressive, and six months later the site will be as it is now.

I swear (and you can quote me on this) that the business/finance model used to fund high-tech development has artificially retarded the advance of technology by at least an order of magnitude... but I digress.


Hey off the subject, did you catch the May issue of SQL Mag? Man I can't remember the last time I've seen so much hype in one spot (other than MSDN). If you look closely you'll notice that the emails of the authors of almost every article in the May SQL Infomercial end in @microsoft.com.

Every single thing I read had an obvious lack of objectivity, talking about how great the redesign of DTS is, and that they rebuilt it from scratch, and how no one in any segment of IT can afford to ignore CLR-language stored procedures, and on and on yoddy yoddy yoddy. Fire-up the buzz-word engine, engage the hyper-hype drives and plot a circular course to no where, warp factor 8.

A full-magazine add for SQL 2005... traditionally everything that MS has gone way out of their way to hype, has pretty-much sucked. Happily SQL Server is a cut above the rest of their stuff... time will tell.


-Mark
BAnVA
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02 May 2004 03:29 AM
I quit subscribing to SQL Mag a couple of years ago mainly becuase I thought their articles were all over the road and off track from the core purpose of SQL Server - a high powered relational database engine. I would have kept subscribing if they had stuck to design theory, modeling, performance, writing quality sql, etc. but they started focusing more on XML and DTS and that was the final straw for me. I like the problem solving aspect of the forums, but don't really care about the magazine at all anymore. They had a streak from 1999 - 2001 where it was good.

A buddy of mine likes to refer to the MS marketing articles (like the ones in this months SQL Mag) as "here's what we did" articles. The reason is that things tend to be viewed by MS as how can we fit this into our existing architecture and still sell the ideas instead of just solving problems the right way. An example for sql server is real try-catch error handling in T-SQL. Why has it taken complaining since 4.21 to get this in place? You know they could have done it earlier since T-SQL went through a set of declarative changes in 7.0 and 2000. Having half of your security management commands in T-SQL and the other in system stored procs is another example of inconsistencies. These are thankfully fixed in SQL 2005. Pure SQL syntax in 2005 is shaping up. I'm not currently a fan of writing CLR procs. Any advanced business logic belongs on the business tier and not in the data storage tier. We've been down the business logic on the data storage tier road before with MS Access.

As an OO junkie for several years, there are two primary issues I have with SQL 2005:

1) No effort to take SQL Server beyond relational to become an object-relational hybrid or something more than it is to accomodate persistence of OO data plus the ability to query it. There's no way anyone is going to convince me that the richest man (or second richest man) in the world can't get the right people together to make this happen. This would totally bridge the object-relational divide and punt datasets and typed datasets straight out of pure OO domain designs. I hear this could be in the works in the future though. .NET 2.0 does provide an object-relational mapper called ObjectSpaces which does help map objects to db tables. It's in its infancy though.

2) Web services, web services, everywhere... Which tier you are using, nobody cares... Who the hell decided that putting effort into placing web services on the data storage tier was a good idea!? .NET and VS.NET makes it sooooooo easy to build web services and pull data for them, who needs it to be any easier? Are developers now saying - "it's too cumbersome to declare ADO.NET objects to pull data and create a class with a web method attribute on the method that returns my data"!? If so, I'd like to sneeze and have the code I was thinking about writing appear before me, but that ain't happening. This was a total waste of MS development resources that could have been placed to advancing products with some meaninful features instead of a bunch of YAGNI stuff.
mmcginty
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03 May 2004 01:13 AM
Interesting perspective, thanks for sharing it. Looks like we have several career path parallels, by virture of which we could likely go on for weeks -- I'll try to avoid introducing any more "scope creep" into this thread. (I'm real bad about doing that.) :-)

> [...] but don't really care about the magazine at all anymore. They had a streak from 1999 - 2001 where it was good.

Agreed, that period would seem to have been something of a heyday, it isn't the cover-to-cover treasure trove that it was. Otoh, articles like the one on performance analysis in December or January can make a single issue easily worth the whole year's subscription. So for me personally it's still proven itself to be net positive. (Even so it's a good thing my subscription didn't come due this month, the May issue might've skewed that perspective.) :-)

> [...] "here's what we did" articles.

Yeah, good call... unfortunately future tense has an odd implied effect: "here's what we're going to do [in our minds' eye] | [in a perfect world] | [or... well... what we want to do anyway]. :-)

> Who the hell decided that putting effort into placing web services on the data storage tier was a good idea!?
> .NET and VS.NET makes it sooooooo easy to build web services and pull data for them, who needs it to be any easier?

Indeed, did we really need yet another proprietary level of MS server component integration, that opens another port and/or begs additional DNS infrastructure? And to use it responsibly requires an understanding of *all* parameter conventions and defaults that are built into it... often easier and safer to roll your own.

Otoh, not everything fits perfectly into the n-tier model, case in point, I'm developing a 2-way sync between Outlook and a web-based CRM/data managment app. One advantage I enjoy over most faced with this task is that SQL Server is already a requirement and is at my disposal. I've implemented significant portions (read: most) of the app's business rules in T-SQL, because it's by far the most powerful tool in the shed, and it makes tons of sense from both security and performance views. The Outlook AddIn component isn't much more than a transfer agent

So to quote Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, "...isn't a little early to be imposing roles?"


Enjoyed the discussion, feel free to email me privately... for whatever reason.


-Mark


btw, I know there's a something out there for which I "owe" you a reply, but couldn't turn it up by searching... I'll look some more, but sorry in advance if it eludes me. :-)
wpickett
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03 May 2004 05:11 AM
Thanks for the feedback from everyone. Mark, I know the situation frustrates you and we'll try to resolve the problem as soon as we can. Please try to keep the threads constructive for the benefit of everyone.

We are looking into the problems that users are having linking to the forums and we will address those concerns as soon as possible. We really do appreciate (and listen) to the feedback about the magazine and I've forwarded your comments to the appropriate magazine staff. If you have other concerns, questions, or suggestions, please drop a line to forumfeedback@winnetmag.com.

Regards,

Warren Pickett
SQL Magazine and Windows & .NET Magazine forums
mmcginty
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04 May 2004 09:21 AM
Warren,

Thanks for taking the time to read our complaints. But a couple of things are confusing me, so if I may address them directly:

> We are looking into the problems that users are having linking to the forums
> and we will address those concerns as soon as possible.

Really? And exactly what would that involve? Drawing straws to see who gets to un-check a checkbox, rename a file or comment-out a couple of lines? This issue is not about development, it does not involve scheduling of resources, it does not require you to raise any venture capitol.

It is about a decision. A decision to either rescind a very devious, abusive little ploy, or to let it stand.

> [...] and we'll try to resolve the problem as soon as we can.

Please clarify: does this mean that you agree the redirection scheme is abusive, disrespectful and just plain wrong? Does it mean that a change is on some qualified technician's list of things to do today? Tomorrow? Next week? Finite time frame of any sort?

Because if you're saying that the decision has been made, you've officially colored it gone, and it's now up to the technical staff to work-out the details, look for it circa next release, I'm sorry, I don't believe you. That tactic is called dissembling, you agree in words, rendering further discussion pointless, though the crucial decision point remains unchanged. "Oh yes we agree 110%, terrible... just terrible... our top staff are on top of it, in fact they've scheduled a design meeting for later this week..." Rrrriiiight.

You can't bury this little config item in a dev cycle, that would be nothing more than a stall tactic.

> Mark, I know the situation frustrates you [...]

Actually Warren it was more of an on-going annoyance, it wasn't really that frustrating... until they sent you out to pump some sunshine up our skirts, it is a little frustrating to see the old corporate smoke screen come wafting down the track... so I guess that's accurate in a self-fulfilling way...

Up to this point I've been giving you the benefit of the doubt, and have assumed that you have authority to make this decision, but I'd very much like to know for sure, bottom line, yes or no: is this decision within the scope of your authority? If not, who the heck is in a position of authority, send them out here, would you? We got a few words for them!

As I've been saying, this is about a decision. If this aspect of site operations is within your sphere of influence, and you're tired of my condescending sarcasm, and generally feel that I owe you at least what appears to be more respect, then here's the deal I have to offer: show us you are listening, show us you really do care, get rid of that stupid redirect thing... surprise me, blow me away, make my day!

In return I would apologize most profoundly, on bended knee, in deepest regret and anguish for the harsh words I had wrongly chosen. I would hold you and this forum in highest regard, I'd raise any future issues in private, and I would be visibly humbled by your presence from that point on. (It'd be worth the humiliation.)

Otoh, if your guys end up sticking with some cock-and-bull story, trying to bury this in industry deadline-slip subterfuge, and 6 months go by, and those of us that are still here are still stuck with your little redirect slap in the face, then you'll probably have to ban me, because that scenario would make you nothing more than a corporate spokes-chimp, and your words empty, hollow, and exactly the stuff I specifically asked not to be included in a response. And sitting quietly by as a reality like that proves itself out just is not my way.

TJ Harty
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05 May 2004 10:02 AM
Under the premise, "better late then never", I'll jump in here.

First off, as you've hopefully found on your own, we believe the problem that was causing all of this has been identified and corrected. Please let us know if this is not the case for you. I have subscribed to this thread so I can be updated to any further posts.

I won't bore you with the details, but the bottom line is the problem started when the SQL Server Magazine site was moved over and the "Remember Me" auto login function was not modified to account for that. Many thanks to Pro Pete for his assistance in walking the team through the bug so that it could be found and fixed. And that's what it was, a bug. It was a couple of lines in the application that didn’t take into account for the SQL site and the needed redirects after the auto login function.

In the end, the person responsible for the site and its usefulness to you, the user, is me. For this headache, and the inconveniences it has caused, I apologize.

T. J. Harty
Windows & .NET Magazine
mmcginty
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07 May 2004 07:47 AM
TJ,

Cool, excellent work, it does indeed work correctly now, right on! It was the meta tag (http-equiv=refresh) that made it really look bad, the 302 redirect of the sqlmag.com URL was understandable, but from there to be refreshed to the all-forums page looked pretty bad... I gather it generates that one by default? No matter...

Sort of a bummer that it took all this drama to get something done about it -- how many weeks was it broken like that? You know that most if not all of the people in this forum are not just willing to help, but are also qualified/skilled IT pros. If we're whining about a bug but you can't reproduce it, just ask, we'll be glad to provide necessary details.

And now I'd really like to sneak away, but fair is fair... eesh...

ahem...


Warren,

I apologize for questioning your intent and integrity, and for doubting your sincerety.

My use of the term "dissembling" in reference to your post was clearly wrong, deepest regrets for that choice of term.

I'm dreadfully sorry for the accusations that I made without basis of fact or good reason; those baseless accusations included describing you/your company of being intentionally abusive, suggesting you might misrepresent your dev cycle time frames and use of the term "stall tactics" -- all my bad, I'm so sorry...

Oh sure, I could've given it a few days before jumping to such negative conclusions -- it's just that I've been lied to soooo many times before, you just can't get a straight line in this business anymore, not for love nor money... but that's an excuse, not a reason.... anyway...

It was not my intent to imply that specifically your company's managment has retarded the advance of technology to any measurable or calculable degree.

I regret voicing my faulty conjecture that you were throwing a smoke screen, and I likewise regret falsely accusing you of pumping sunshine up anyone's skirt (or other garmet of any kind.)

My use of the phrase "cock and bull" was off-color and potentially offensive, and both my sarcasm and abusive tone in general were way out of line.

For these my transgressions I am here before you, wroght with angst, to offer my humblest and most sincere apologies... my bad... I'm so very awfully sorry...

And lastly, a special apology for, and retraction of the reference "corporate spokes-chimp" -- where did that come from, please!? My mother raised me better than that, I swear, I just don't know what might have posessed me to say something like... that was sooo wrong... my bad! I am so sorry!

(Let it never be said that I don't pay my debts.)

-Mark
wpickett
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07 May 2004 10:37 AM
Thanks, Mark.

Although I'm not a "techie" on the Web development team here, I try to be a good advocate for all the users and to help to correct problems like this as quickly as possible. We often rely on our Forum Pros to help us identify problems, but anyone in the forums can feel free to email us directly at forumfeedback@winnetmag.com when you spot problems. Glad to hear that TJ and his team were able to get things fixed.

Regards,

Warren
Windows & .NET Magazine and SQL Server Magazine forums
Ado_SQL
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09 Sep 2004 09:33 PM
Have there been any recent changes, say in the last week or so? I had (more by luck than design?) not been plagued by this problem since the initial changes were made and so was blissfully unaware that any problems existed.

However, I have recently changed location and presto! redirection to windowsitpro.com main page with the pain of having to navigate to sqlmag; apologies for contributing to the wrong forum!!!

Yes, I have checked browser settings etc etc etc. but the problem still seems to persist, any suggestions?
mmcginty
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29 Sep 2004 08:34 AM
It seems to be working normally for me, maybe try blowing off all winnetmag.com and sqlmag.com cookies, deleting browser temp files, close all open browsers and try again?

-Mark
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