True Domino Blooper #2: Independence Day blunder

Before you don your red, white and blue decorations and blast off those fireworks with your friends, families and colleagues, check out what "Domino Dude" sent us.

This week we celebrate Independence Day in the U.S. (July 4th). Before you don your red, white and blue decorations and blast off those fireworks with your friends, families and colleagues, check out what "Domino Dude" sent us.

When I was working for a large, Zurich-based global holding company that owns 70 different multi-national companies, an aspiring Notes application developer in Australia decided to change the mail template's inbox view to alternating rows of blue and white to look like the Australian flag in order to recognize Australia's Independence Day.

Many other companies within the organization that had not taken the appropriate precautions on replication of mail templates wound up trying to explain why everyone's inbox view was alternating blue and white rows the next day.

It seems that the mail50.ntf file on a server in Australia did not have the ACL set correctly -- along with many other servers around the world. An aspiring application programmer working in a European branch had access to the design of the mail file template on his server. He went into the ($inbox) folder and via the "Design -- Folder -- Properties" changed it to display the alternate row color of blue on a white background. He then ran the designer task to change the design of all of the mail files on his server.

However, due to some improper settings and a novice's enthusiasm, he was not aware of the impact the seemingly innocuous change would have on the entire global organization. The next time the server in Australia replicated with the hub in Europe, the design change was then replicated to the hub server. Through normal replication, the design change was then replicated to all servers that allowed the mail50.ntf to be updated -- hundreds and hundreds of mail templates were affected. The offending developer had no idea how far his enthusiasm for his country's flag and national holiday would spread.

Many organizations that used the standard mail50.ntf as the source for their mail design then had all of their users' mailbox design updated that night when the designer task ran at 1 a.m. The next morning, all mail files had alternating white and blue rows, just like the Australian flag!

Finding the developer who made the change was not difficult. (The folder's "last modified by" field contained the name of the developer.) The hard part was locating all of the Mail50.ntf files that had been updated by the replication process.

A hard lesson was learned! Ensure that all of your NTF files have their ACL set to not allow the design to be changed. We (the U.S. company) also went into each mail file and changed the "Inherit design from template" field to a non-default name. This allowed us to modify the design of the non-default named template so that it restored the correct colors when the designer task was run that night. We're not sure how other countries solved their problem.

Thanks for listening, and enjoy Independence Day!

-- Domino Dude

Do you have your own blooper? Send it in and claim your fame.

Every story in our bloopers series comes to us directly from a administrator, developer or consultant. For obvious reasons, some contributors -- including this tale's author -- choose to remain anonymous.


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