At work today I spent quite a bit of time shouting and throwing things at my monitor, it tends to take the brunt of my frustrations when things really annoy me. The reason for my frustration today was Coldfusion’s WSConfig tool, which is supposed to easily allow you to configure web servers or individual sites (in the case of IIS anyway, I’ve not tried with Apache yet) to work with the Coldfusion JRun connector.

I’ve never had reason to touch this in the past, but a few days ago I was playing around with Flash forms in CF and I had a problem where the loading (clock) cursor never went away, the solution it seems (for no explanation that I could find, other than "it works") was to remove the Coldfusion configuration from IIS and re-apply it, using WSConfig. So I did that late last week and everything was good and it gave me a little fuzzy feeling inside, the clock cursor no longer hounded me within my Flash forms.

Fast forward to today and I switch sites in IIS to test something else and suddenly IIS is serving the Coldfusion pages as octet streams and the browser is asking if I want to save or open them, this is not good. So I go through the whole process of removing and adding CF again via WSConfig, no luck. I manually restart IIS and then Coldfusion, still no luck. I go back to the first site, the one with the flash forms, and that’s not working anymore. Hmmmm.

After a bit more fiddling I figure out that if I type in the exact URL of a template (e.g. index.cfm) everything works fine, the problem is only occurring when IIS is trying to hit a default document that is a CF file or catch an error that redirects to a CF file; which is odd.

I spend what seems like hours (in between other things I’m doing) spent in an endless circle of removing and re-applying the CF configuration using WSConfig, restarting CF, searching on the web for ideas and similar problems, restarting IIS, restarting the machine, shouting at the monitor and throwing things (not necessarily in that order). I even tried searching for "WSConfig is rubbish", which returned nothing at all – which isn’t very helpful.

I eventually found a very handy post by Peter J. Farrell, as an aside I’ve always wondered what makes a person choose to use one or more of their initials in every day use – I guess for actors and writers it has something to do with previous artists and to avoid confusion with them. Anyway I’m getting distracted from the point; which was the post by Peter that saved my afternoon. Although the problems described didn’t directly relate to my problem, I wasn’t getting the same error messages and I’m using IIS, it also didn’t appear under a search for "WSConfig is rubbish" but I gave it a try.

Two minutes later me, Coldfusion, IIS and my monitor (and possibly my work who colleagues may have been thinking I was slightly unhinged) were happy once again.

So if you have any sort of problems with WSConfig, be sure to give Peters post a try, it could be the difference between sanity and eating cereal from a slipper – with a comb.

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