Curl up in front of a roaring fire with our EULA

01 February 2010

OK, the headline is said partly in jest, but the intent is serious. You see, we had a weird support case over the weekend where tempers were starting to rise, until Alex in support worked out what was going on.

The customer was writing a small test program with ASPxScheduler. Worked fine on his development machine — yes, it's the perennial programmer's excuse Smile — but when he copied the test app over to the production server with all required DevExpress assemblies and ran it, blam, the Yellow Screen of Death. The error was frankly bizarre: "Make sure that the class defined in this code file matches the "inherits" attribute, and that it extends the correct base class." Nice, but what the … does it mean?

Of course, the support team couldn't replicate the problem either (more "works on my machine" in other words). We thought it was one thing and then another, nothing seemed to make sense, and every back and forth would dial up the frustration and the tense atmosphere towards the magical 11. Even Mehul was dragged into the fray, and he's in Paris.

Finally this morning, Alex noticed something in a screenshot: the customer was copying the *.design.dlls to the production website as well. The customer considered them part of the "required DevExpress dlls" and had unknowingly copied them over along with the run-time dlls. Our support guys, knowing the language in the EULA, had naturally assumed that this wasn't the case and so were trying more and more outlandish scenarios trying to replicate the customer's problem. Removing the design-time-only dlls solved the issue.

The moral of the story is this: the EULA not only defines your rights and ours and is admittedly quite boring to read, but it does also define a long list of dlls that you can — are allowed to — deploy along with your application. None of the *.design.dlls are deployable.

So, take a moment to read our EULA. You may save yourself some support time in the future…

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