12-11-2008 12:07 PM - edited 12-11-2008 07:24 PM
Our firm has been using ACT for several years now, and after an incident with an ACT Admin deleting all of a users data, and losing a week of her work, we need to move beyond ACT 2005 to a newer product that allowed automation of backup. We decided since ACT was implemented already, we'd upgrade to the newest version, 2009. The 2009 for WEB product was VERY intriguing to my salespeople, and it was decided we'd move off the client based version to the web based version.
I have just spent the majority of four entire business days, trying to get APFW 2009 for WEB to run properly. After spending 3 hours Tuesday with Monte from Tech Support, and two hour yesterday with Marty from Tech Support, it was discovered that there are three or four versions of the 11.0.1 patch.
Now, at initial install of the product, I was a little concerned. The servername/APFW web site said it was not going to function, because the "Beta" had expired. Well that's odd. Any beta notice should never make it to production software. Odd. But Ok. There must be a patch. There was. 22.214.171.1244.
After trying to use the automated installer/updater for the patch, within the APFW app running on the console, and having it fail three times telling me I needed an addition 300 megs or so of space on a drive with 60+ gigs free. Err.. Ok. I changed the temp directory enviroment variables so I could see the patch trying to extract itself in C:\temp. Everything looked fine, but alas, it was not to be. So no biggie. Auto updaters fail, that's why you can get the patch on a website. So I snagged 126.96.36.1994, installed, and away I went.
Fired up the app on the console, restored and upgraded my DB from my old 2005 version, and bam, all looked good. So far, not too many worries. The app appeared faster than 2005, and was working well. But I need the web version. So bam, went to web admin, verified ASP.NET all good, verified my actservice account all good, attached the demo, and my converted DBs to the website.
Logged into the website, saw my data, and was quite pleased. I immediately went to one of the salesman's offices, and had him log in and take a look. All was good... except....
He hit contact list, and got the list loading in. It wouldn't load completely in. We had to scroll down to get the page/frame to update. Well, no biggie, how often do you need to scroll through everybody. However, I know if one of our programmers had this issue on a product he developed for our company, we would not be happy with it. So, we select a few records, and click "lookup selected". This returned a blank frame. Nothing but background color. Hmmm... I told him to hit refresh, and it appears pull up the records. The he hits "company", and clicks "S". Nothing. Blank screen. Background color. "Robert, if this works like this, and I'm in an airport trying to look through records, I will be filled with the desire to hurt you". Great... Head back to my office to troubleshoot.
<four days of troubleshooting commence>
Monte, my first 3 hour tech support call, has me fire up the little citix based remote app, and I log into the site, type in the code, download the control, and bam, he connected. After verifying and troubleshooting for three hours, he reports "it should be working, but it isn't, I don't know what to tell you, this is so frustrating". He stripped .net out, reinstall it, reinstall the app totally, reinstall web stuff, dinked with IIS, dinked with system settings, etc etc etc. Nothing. I say, this is running a virtual machine, could that be it? He does some research, and says, no that's not a known issue.
So I think it might be. After logging off with Monte, I proceed to blow out the VM server itself, reinstall Windows 2003 from scratch, not install any patches or system updates as I've been instructed (classic...) and try to make APFW work. Reinstall, copy copy, patch patch, setup clicky clicky, and DAMMIT, SAME ISSUE!
So the next day... I grab a new box off the shelf. Dual core 3.16 workstation, 4 gigs ram, 160 gig SATA, standard workstation config. It throw Win2003 on it. Install APFW. Patch. Same issue... What the bloody hell.
I regen the VM server again, back to 2003. I then create a Windows 2008 server in the virtual machine I set up. I figure, hell, the only things I haven't ruled out are the installation media itself, and the OS, so let's try 2008 and IIS 7.0. Install OS, install APFW, SAME **bleep** ISSUE! All techs say "it's supposed to be working!".
Well, after an hour and a half on the phone with Marty this time, Monte being off, these are the conclusions I have discovered.
This is as I understand it now:
There are three of four versions of the 11.0.1 patch. Current available being 188.8.131.524, which BREAKS the contact list display. Evidently the first public available version was 184.108.40.2060. Which fixed the beta website issue. But broke the contact list. So another patch was introduced, which fixed contact list, but broke something else, of which I'm not sure. Then the released another patch, 504, which was actually a renumbered .500, to go back to where things where, which broke contact list, but fixed the beta issue. This was communicated to me by Marty at tech support. He was going to try to find a copy of the 220.127.116.112 patch, which was evidently what I need to fix my contact list issue.
It wasn't until I install windows 2008 and II7 that I could see an error in the event log of the web server unable to find default.aspx in the contactlist directory. Looking in there and not finding it, and verifying with Marty at tech support that it wasn't on his working server either, then he started telling me about the patches.
So. Here I am. The rollout is supposed to be this weekend. The product does not function as shipped. I was told by Act sales I could have my 4 grand back if things didn't work out. The WEB portion was going to support multiple remote salespeople.
What can I do? Marty at tech support told me there was going to be a high level 11.0.1 patch coming out, somewhere in the 18.104.22.1680's or so. And this would fix all the issues. The end all be all of patches for APFW. However, I have paid money, invested time and effort, and have becoming SO frustrated, that I want to be done with this. We are a highly successful direct marketing company with clients like Subway, McDonalds, Safeway, etc, and this time of product failure would be absolutely unacceptable to our clients.
Perhaps someone looking at this will be saved the horrible experience I have trying to implement this product. Perhaps this post will make the developers PAY ATTENTION, and FIX THE **bleep** PROBLEMS, because it's absolutely unacceptable that I have experienced this.
ACT, your product is broken, and you're on the high road to losing this customer. I've been loyal for years, since it was a Symantec product. But Salesforce is looking really really really good right now.
Good luck, anyone else trying to implement this. As of 12/11/08, if you have purchased Act Premium for WEb 11.0, your product is currently broken.
Database Marketing Group, Inc.
12-12-2008 07:20 AM
12-11-2008 07:23 PM - edited 12-11-2008 07:27 PM
Update on this:
Evidently, the problem lies within the installation that came out of the box on the CD media.
I received a voicemail and an email today from Marty at tech support, and it included a link to a current distribution build.
I downloaded the build he provided the link for, and the installation went as normal, as all had so far.
I ran the patch, and instead of getting the typical screens to apply the update, I got an installer screen with Remove as the only option.
It was like seeing the second black cat in the matrix. Something was different. This could be good.
Loaded up the app, set up the demo DB and, not really holding my breath, logged in.
Dammit, it worked. I click on letters, and I see data!
I click lookup, and I get a lookup!
SO! If you are having this problem! Chuck your APFW CD and request a link to the current build from tech support. That will fix the issue.
Salesforce was **bleep** expensive, I'm glad I got this working.
12-12-2008 07:20 AM
12-12-2008 09:49 AM - edited 12-12-2008 09:52 AM
Yes, that was it. If you buy from ACT directly, opt for the digital download, as the media distribution batch I purchased from contains a flawed build from a time sensitive beta, and the patch process does not work.
Somewhere, there's a warehouse with pallets of boxes filled with shiny plastic discs of frustration. I hope Sage follows the chain and does something about it now, because it's definitely an issue, and could cause problems for other Act customers in the future. Definitely not the economy or time to be losing customers.
Maybe a developer could fix the patch? Just put the entire build up, tweak the installer a bit, and call it a 350 meg "patch". Sloppy, but does the job.
I'll be contacting tech support today and letting them know this fixed the problem. I checked your answer, dlunceford, as the solution, so someone seeking help wouldn't have to read my novel, and can just get'er done.
08-22-2009 01:06 PM
For what it's worth, you *can* do an automatic backup in every version of ACT! dating back to 2005. Here's how:
You'll need to write a batch file. You can do this in notepad, and then just save with a .bat extension.
The batch file should looks something like this:
net stop "SQL Service (ACT7)"
xcopy x:\sourcefolder x:\destinationfolder /e /y
net start "SQL Service (ACT7)"
This stops the SQL service and copies all of the files in the x:\sourcefolder folder to a new folder. Once in the new folder, you can use your regular backup system to backup the data in x:\destinationfolder. The /e switch forces the system to copy subdirectories-- which you'll need for the database supplemental folders folder. The /y suppresses the overwrite prompts.
You'll take the .bat file and then use the Windows scheduler to run it. We usually do a separate batch file for each day of the week. Also, remember to always do a backup fo the x:\destinationfolder folder.
If you are running an older version of ACT!, the name of the SQL service is probably mssql$act7 instead of "SQL Service (ACT7)".
We have found the ACT! Scheduler to be wholly unreliable in almost every client install we've done. Instead, we opt for stopping the SQL service, manually copying the files, and then starting it up again. In almost every site where we relied solely on the ACT! Scheduler, six months later the backups had stopped running, and since the program doesn't notify you of issues, it can provide a false sense of security.
Having said this, ACT! 2005 was pretty buggy, so you should definitely get off that version and onto something more stable. The newer (2009 and 2010) versions are pretty solid.