Monday, December 10, 2012

.NET 4 Full Install Saved The Day

Last week ended well. A remote user has been using a work app in an odd way and now she can finally use it 99% just like the users at our main site. Cool. Before, I had her connecting to our main site via Sonicwall Global VPN client, then using RDP to a virtual machine. No, it's not a horrible way to use the app, but it's not the best. Why did I have her setup this way? I'll explain.

Our application we use for HR, payroll, general ledger, project management, etc. runs from serer1. It's installed on that server. Our main site users have a mapped drive to server1 and a shortcut to the app on their desktops. They click on the shortcut, and since the app is web based, IE 8/9 pops up with the app graphic and a link for the database to connect to. Once the database link is clicked, the login window pops up for the user to put in her credentials then away she goes working. That's how the run process, well, runs. For the remote user, I had in mind the following: connect via vpn then use the app just like users at the main do. Well, my setup didn't go as planned. Earlier this year when I setup the remote user for app use, I ran the sonicwall vpn global client to connect to our main site. I mapped the drive to server1, placed the shortcut to the app on her desktop, clicked on it, ran the config, the IE app graphic window popped up, I clicked on the database link, but then nothing happened after that. Nothing. I clicked again and nothing. I at least expected an error message, but I wasn't given anything. The user was pressed for time. I asked her if I could investigate, that it could probably take a lot of time and she more or less said "no." I told her I could make a quick fix and she was fine with that. So, I setup the RDP method. She was fine with that and she had been fine with that for many months.

Last week she reminded me about it and wondered if I could eliminate the remote step. I told her it would probably take some time and she was fine with that. I setup a lab in my office, almost identical to her setup (the only difference was my connection was wireless). In my lab an error message displayed on the screen. I clicked on the database link, then BAM an error message popped up reporting an app crash. I flew to the event viewer and found an application crash reported. I then decided to compare and contrast my lab setup and our production setup. I found a difference (besides the vpn connection, :P): our production computers had .NET Framework 4 Extended and Client Profile whereas my lab computer only had .NET Framework 4 Client Profile. So, I installed .NET 4 Full on my lab computer and after that the app worked flawlessly.

I then called the remote user, setup a time, went out there installed .NET 4 full and then the app worked exactly as it should have worked. The user was ecstatic. I had never seen her so happy. She told me she didn't mind going through the RDP, but the text was small, the connection would timeout after inactivity; just those little things that don't ruin your work, but are just so annoying you can't work happily you know? Well, so far, so great for her current setup. All she has to do now is run the sonicwall global vpn client then she is able to work within the app.

Any suggestions for an alternate setup?

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