Posted on 2/11/06 by Felix Geisendörfer
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Yeah, that's how I feel right now, like I'm in hell. Well, minus meeting all the interesting people that supposely went there for the even more interesting things they did in their lives.
What's the matter? I don't know. On Saturday I wanted to commit some changes to one of my local SVN repositories and got some ugly "couldn't establish ra_local_session" error message from TortoiseSVN, and that's when all the trouble started ... Before that I was just enjoying an amazing productivity high, created by the numerous changes I've recently tried to make in my life and felt like writing a little post about this. Right now, 5 days laters, I can hardly remember how it felt to be productive.
The entire SVN problem turned out to be a nightmare. I could find some people having the same issue via google, but all of them had the problem when doing any svn operation. I only had the issue with commit - update, info, export, etc. worked just fine. And of course, none of the solutions I found seemed to be related or helping in my case. I tried to use the svn admin tools to repair my (corrupted?) svn repository, but no luck. I spent hours and hours trouble shooting, but nothing helped. Finally I thought maybe updating to svn 1.4 would solve my problem, but far from it. To make a long story short, TortoiseSVN 1.4 broke my shell integration, did not fix the issue and caused nothing but trouble.
So that's how I spent my Saturday and Sunday. I finally gave up and started the repository all over again. Luckily this had been a young project with no important branches yet. But still, I really really hate not being able to solve a problem, it's not a good sign.
Monday came. I wanted to continue working on my big CMS project that was scheduled for a presentation with the client tonight, and things seemed to look good. I was integrating a PicturesController for image uploads (including zipped files with numerous images) and I was very confident to meet the deadline. Let's put it like that, since the late afternoon of Monday, I've been writing about ~5 lines of productive code for that project, and no I was not able to make the deadline working.
Once again, hell broke loose and something as ridicolous easy as readfile(); failed on me. If you want to get detailed information on my issue, checkout this post on the Google Group. Or to make this a short story as well: I have to serve an image via CakePHP but it only partially get's to the browser. And even worse: It's a Heisenbug in the sense that in some cases the picture get's displayed completely, and in all the other cases only in fragments and apparantly some code I tried had a small effect on the amount of bytes that make it to the browser. So I've spent hours and hours researching this, stumbling across some people having the same issue with various php/apache setups, but no solution. Right now I've tried just about anything from paranoid ob_flushing, sending different header data, testing across multiple browser, php.ini/httpd.conf tweaking, numerous reboots and even more numerous apache restarts, updating php, updating apache, switching from FastCGI to running php as a module to banging my head against the monitor and more. All of this brought no solution to my problem. In the best cases nothing happened, but usally more problems arose which turned out to be even harder to fix. The best one being CakePHP not running when setting up php as an apache module ...
Those of you who have read my google group post might think I'm stupid for not just ignoring the issue as it does not occur with my host, but to me there is no way to move on before fixing my problem. I cannot accept working with a dev system that shows incosistent output behavior, that's suicide. But if I can't fix this problem at some point soon, I can't guarantee for my surrival either. It's a nightmare, it's hell ...
So why have I bothered to write this post? Well maybe to relief the pain a little bit, maybe to join Jonathan Snook having a bad time, or maybe simply to let you guys know I'm not dead (yet) and new posts will come as soon as I go back to being a php developer rather then a windows victim.
In any case, wish me luck and if you have the slightest idea what could fix my issue, please let me know!
--Felix Geisendörfer aka the_undefined
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