KC Lemson

By KC Lemson [MS]


Tripped up by imprecise terminology

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In OWA 2000 SP2, we added some registry keys to control certain behavior related to attachments. We needed the keys to be set by default, so I talked to the setup team, and they agreed to make the change. I sent them a mini speclet where I described that we'd have the registry keys under HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\MSExchangeWeb\OWA, the keys would be named Level2MIMETypes and Level2FileTypes, and gave them the default values.

Satisfied with my proactive work on this, I left the testing of the buddy drop to the tester and went home. The next day I had my tester in my office telling me that the setup team totally screwed it up. They'd created new nodes in the registry rather than new values. I went to talk to the dev, who explained that he gave me exactly what I asked for - registry keys. If I'd wanted new registry values, then I should have said that in the beginning.

To him, this was basic vocabulary. He knew that registry keys are on the left-hand side of regedit and have folder icons, whereas registry values are on the right-hand side of regedit and have different icons depending on their type. To me, “registry key” was just a part of the vernacular I'd learned and there were different types of registry keys, such as DWORDs, strings, etc.

This was an important lesson for me in two ways - #1 be specific, and #2 double check everything, using visual examples when possible.

  • heh - good story. I got to the point where I just export the node I care about and send people a .reg.txt file (since .reg extension is blocked) that they can import - then the results are at least clear - the .reg file format defines the common vocabulary authoritatively :)

  • I clicked in here to say the exact same thing as James. Alas, he has already said it.

  • Yep, visual examples are always king.