Monday, November 1, 2004

Further Adventures with Roller Weblogger

Satisfied that I had finally worked out all of the kinks, I decided that it was time to log in and start posting. I went back to the main Roller page, clicked on the login link at the top of the page, and up came the login screen you see in Figure H.

FIGURE H

The Roller login screen. Things are looking up! (click for larger image)

Beautiful. I entered my LDAP user id and password and clicked on Login, ready to start editing my first post.

Deja Vu

Unfortunately, all I got back was the completely blank screen shown in Figure I.

FIGURE I

The dreaded blank screen. Things are not looking up after all. (click for larger image)

No error page, no messages or stack trace in the server log -- nothing. I hate it when that happens.

I had no idea whether it was a problem with my LDAP configuration, a conflict with something Tomcat-specific in the .war, some kind of issue with trying to combine the Roller user database and the external LDAP database, or just another one of my own stupid mistakes.

I really don't mind fixing problems, and in fact I kind of enjoy it, but I really hate it when I have absolutely no idea where to even begin to start looking! So . . . now what?

I briefly considered just giving up on the whole idea, but my mother always told me that I was a stubborn kid. I just hate to admit defeat after getting this far. I then thought, for just a moment, about looking at the WebSphere documentation on forms-based authentication. But instructions are for people with no imagination, so I quickly dismissed that idea.

Finally I decided to just start ripping things apart and forcing them back together again to see what would happen. After all, if it's already broken, you can't hurt anything, right?

Eventually, I did manage to get to the bottom of this particular problem, but just so that I don't spoil all the fun for those of you who are adventurous enough to be following along at home, I'll wait until next time to lay all of that out. The good news is that, at some point, it does all come together, and it's quite a nice little piece of software when everything is working as it should.

By the way, the fact that it doesn't just drop into WebSphere without a hitch is in no way any type of negative commentary on the quality of the product, by the way. As the journeymen used to tell me when I was learning to be an auto mechanic, "Not everything fits together perfectly right out of the box; sometimes you have to go get a bigger hammer."

Until next time, then . . . Happy Rolling!