August 2009 Archives

Create your own army (of users for testing)

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star_wars_clone_army.jpgRecently a colleague brought up the common question of how one might have sufficient users for load testing. There are many solutions to the problem, but one I put together all the way back in 2004 is a server API csharp application that creates bulk users.

I've updated the application for WCI 10gR3, and you can download it here.

From the readme file:

This is a small web application that can create and delete users in bulk. This may be useful in certain test situations.

To install:

    * Unzip the bulkusers directory on your web server.
    * Configure it as an application. It can be made an application from the properties page of the IIS console.
    * Be sure the new IIS application uses .NET 2.0.

To configure:

    * Create a folder in your portal that you will put these new users in. It is important that this folder only be used for this bulk users.
    * Note the folder id of the new folder you created. You might do this by clicking into the folder then examining the query string.
    * Open web.config for this web application. Put the appropriate values into the appSettings section so the web application will know how to connect, where to create users, group memberships, password, and so forth.

To use:

This web application is quite rudimentary in that all instructions are given through its query string. Examples are shown here:

    * To create 25 users, browse to http://server/bulkusers/index.aspx?action=create&count=25
    * To show all users in the folder, browse to http://server/bulkusers/index.asp?action=show
    * To delete all users in the folder (regardless of how they were created), browse to http://server/bulkusers/index.aspx?action=delete

You should be very aware of the consequence of running the delete command. It deletes all users in the folder you specify in web.config. If you make the mistake of using an existing user folder for these bulk users, then the delete command will delete the pre-existing users who probably shouldn't be deleted.

Bill Benac
Written December, 2004
Updated August, 2009

Clean up footers before running WCI 10gR3

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It turns out that ALUI 6.1 was more forgiving than WCI in at least one way: if a community was set to use a custom footer, and then if that custom footer was deleted, the community would continue to display properly. However, in WCI 10gR3, a bug exists such that when the custom footer isn't found, the page displays this unhelpful message under the portal's navigation:

Error - The server has experienced an error. Try again or contact your portal administrator if you continue experiencing problems.

When you open the HTML source of the page, you find this somewhat unhelpful message in all its impenetrable detail:


The problem is easy enough to fix as a one-off: Open the community editor, observe that no custom footer appears to be set, add a custom footer, save the community, edit the community, remove the custom footer, and you're good.

You can quickly check whether any communities in your system are affected by this bug by running this query to find those meeting the condition:

select objectid, name, footerid from ptcommunities where footerid not in (select objectid from ptgadgets) and footerid > 0

And fortunately, you can fix them all in one fell swoop by updating them to discontinue their attempted display of that bogus footer:

update ptcommunities set footerid=0 where  footerid not in (select objectid from ptgadgets) and footerid > 0

Finally, you can rerun the query to check for communities with the error, and you will now find all is well.

How should this be fixed in the product?

1) The portal should forgive communities that use a bad footer ID. A simple try/catch should do the trick.
2) The portal should change its steps when deleting a portlet When a portlet is removed from the portal, part of the cleanup should be to update the ptcommunities table to use footerid 0 in the place of the deleted gadgetid.

We'll see whether this is ever done. In the meantime, you need to get your portal running, and the approach I outlined here should do it.

Enjoy!