As I sit here, finally able to login almost two weeks since the 'upgrade' I have to wonder why my employer spends almost $20,000 a year for maintenance, when in the end, it was I and I alone that figured out how to login.
Let's list the things that were botched:
A. My existing login and password did not work out of the box, despite having worked for several years prior to the upgrade.
B. There was no email address to send emails about forum problems.
C. I was forced to find a posting SW employee whose email address was not marked 'private' to plead for assistance. He actually replied promptly and said he would forward my issue to Greg Janowski. I never heard from Greg or anyone else.
D. Once the 'Known Issues' thread was posted and an email address was provided I sent not one, not two, but three separate emails outlining my problem. I received no replies.
E. I emailed my VAR, who pointed me to a 'Solution-ID' that contained nothing I hadn't tried already.
F. I tried creating new logins with and without license numbers. All failed with no specific error listed.
G. I tried creating logins with three separate email accounts, and two different SW license numbers. All failed with no specific error listed.
H. I tried using the 'Lost Password' feature for the portal (even though I had not lost it) and got an error said that no match for my email addess (that had worked flawlessly prior to the upgrade) could not be found.
J. At some point along the way, my portal login also stopped working.
K. I tried all of the above with Firefox 3.5 and IE 6.0 with no discernable difference in the outcome.
Finally, this morning, I stumbled across one more email address I had at my disposal so I though I would give it a try. I went to create a new portal login and was confronted with the screen where you enter various things. The first item to be entered is 'Account Name'. For my previous failed attempts, I have using things like 'jsculley' or 'jmsculley' and such and it always failed at the end of he process just after you agree that you are not a terrorist. Today, for some reason, it occurred to me that perhaps they were looking for the commercial account name tied to the license number. I entered that name and lo and behold, I had access.
I understand that upgrades to software may have problems. However, the utter lack of forethought by SW on how to handle a situation where a valid user has a problem caused solely by this upgrade is inexcusable. Ignoring emails is inexcusable. Even an auto-reply would have been helpful. The whole email fiasco last week was inexcusable.
This should have been rolled out as a beta with read/write access to the old forums still in place so that problems could be voiced and addressed.
To all the apologists for SW who have been saying things like 'it's probably a bug in the forum software and SW doesn't have the source and they can't fix it', I'll point out that the 'Jive Forums' software has been around for a long time. To give you a frame of reference, the SW forums have about 3000 users. Sun Microsystems use Jive to power their Java forums at http://forums.sun.com/index.jspa. Current users count: 956,159 with nearly 1 million threads and over 4 million posts. The problem here is not the software.
P.S. If anyone from SW is actually paying attention, any chance you can reassign all the posts from my old account to this one. It's the least you can do after not lifting a finger to help out for the last two weeks. If you can't figure it out I can probably post a message on the Java forums and get someone who actually understands how to do an upgrade to help out.