Commerce Server 2002 Starter Site

After my secondment as a Business Analyst, I’ve had a couple of jobs that have been a delight – both to do with Microsoft Platform Websites. The first was to review a ground up implementation of an online channel of a mainframe application, the other is a short knowledge transfer using Commerce Server 2002. I’ve worked on similar jobs before – when a suite of software is bought and it takes a while to use all of the features.

In this case it was an MSIB 2.5 implementation and after it went in Microsoft Content Management Server got all of the attention. Of course, since then Sharepoint Portal Server has come to the fore (for a number of good reasons) and Windows Server 2003 is the server of choice. To remind me of the details, and to “feel the pain” I’ve been building a Commerce Server 2002 platform over the last few days. I decided to add it in to the domain I built earlier to pass my Windows 2000 Admin exam, as the client in question is running on Windows 2000 kit.

My goodness, how long has it taken. I’d hoped to clear this in a couple of days, and here I am still building the thing four days later. The slowest part was the prerequisites and for me this is my first lesson learned. I’m clearly a bit rusty when it comes to my toolkit, and I need to get my cds and dvds together with my platform servers and applications. Downloading Visual Studio over the vpn took over 12 hours, not quite broadband in my book. And I made one or two mistakes in the Virtual Machine config, again totally mucking up the disk sizing and making it too small to get things like service packs on properly. Although installs of server applications can be diverted to a second drive, the primary volume needs to be big enough for service pack deployment and crash dump handling.

Although the time taken has been a bit of added stress before my client visit on Monday, it has been excellent reminder training for me.

Where is the advanced riding?

Ah well, it came to a bit of an abrupt end. When I joined up towards the end of the season there was a risk that I’d miss the window of opportunity this year. As it was, the runs stopped at the beginning of November. As I’ve read elsewhere, the advanced biking training tends to run with BST. The weather gets unpredictable from October onwards and the risks to the Observers themselves tips the balance.

I’m a bit disappointed I didn’t get the test in this year, next year is a bit trickier to organise, but I’ve enjoyed what I’ve learned and plan to get on with it. All being well I’ll have it done before the summer, with enough of BST in 2007 to go.

In the meantime I’ve found myself watching my observations and what I notice when I travel in other cars and buses, so I’m still learning.

All over the map

In the last three weeks I’ve worked for different parts of the same financial services group, in Edinburgh, in Dublin and in Halifax. It has been interesting to see the similarities from the sector, but also differences due to history and business practices in the locality.

I’ve also been to Leeds Bradford Airport for the first time, and been introduced to Halifax, Leeds and Bradford the towns.

It has been a bit of a whistle stop, but some fascinating looks at scalable .net web architecture. And had the opportunity to work with one of my fellow colleagues from down South. He has a Lotus Elise, so I can now say I’ve travelled in one and know the technique for fitting my 6 foot 5 frame of ahem weight through the passenger door and into the seat. All i can say is that it involves winding the window down.

Will it blend

I don’t fly for a year, then I’m in Dublin for a day one week, and Halifax for a few days the next. And I’ll be in Halifax for four days and London for one next week!

Enough of that for the time being, if you’ve ever wondered if an item around the house can be put through a blender then check Will It Blend.