PDC09 – What I’ll watch – Day 1

PDC09  has started. Unfortunatelly I’m not there. But no worries! Everythings get recorded by the Channel 9 chaps.
I thought: let’s share my recommended movies / the movies I’ll watch :).

So here we go:

  1. Data Programming and Modeling for the Microsoft .NET Developer
    Don Box! The main guy behind Oslo, someone you should always watch!
  2. Microsoft ASP.NET 4 Core Runtime for Web Developers
    That’s my job isn’t it? ASP.NET 4 is upcoming, .NET 4 is upcoming, so we as Sitecore should remain running!
  3. Code Visualization, UML, and DSLs
    Very interesting way of looking at code is to Visualize it and make it more human.
    Definitelly one to watch.
  4. Manycore and the Microsoft .NET Framework 4: A Match Made in Microsoft Visual Studio 2010
    Many core is the main issue these days. This video brings a lot of the great work done by MSFT together.

All together 4 hours of watching. Have fun 🙂

Updated: Now with working links. Sorry!

Sitecore tells you: “Specified cast is not valid” during startup

An annoying issue which came across twice this week: Sitecore was throwing “Specified cast is not valid”-Exceptions:

"Specified Cast is not valid"-exception

And seriously, if there’s one thing I hate about .NET in general, it are exceptions. 95% of the time they are non self explaining and sometimes even nonsense. This exception would normally take me 20 minutes to solve at least. But not this time. So how to solve this one?

Basically, this is nothing more than a Database Connection error… When I added /sitecore behind my url, I received a generic connection failure exception. I had to do some work on my connection string(or start my SQL Server). That’s all. But Alex, where did it come from? And why does the login page show something different?

Chicken and the egg issue: when accessing an Item we need a (SQL)-Database, but before allowing to access an Item, we need a User, a User needs a (SQL)-Database. And of course, this dependancy became stronger when we introduced Sitecore v6 with the Membership Providers.

So what can we learn from this? Always consult both pages: / and /sitecore. Often, there’s a different message. Sitecore is all based on context(yes, Sitecore.Context…). So when you have a problem, always try different entry points to minimize the Context. For example, Sitecore has by default 2 active websites running: ‘website’ and ‘shell’. In this case, I tried to access both of them.

Happy coding out there 🙂