End of week one of my new job. Pretty good all round really. Interesting, fun bunch of people, which for me is generally the most important component. After working with crap people in a bad environment, I’ve come to realise that the ‘work’ component of work bears not a lot of relevance to whether you enjoy your job. Sure, it is important to do interesting stuff and get paid well, but if you are forced to do that stuff and earn that pay amongst people you neither respect nor like, then it becomes very old, very quickly. So yeah, good people at BT.
I haven’t really scratched the surface of the actual development work that I will be doing long term. I’ve been debugging a really interesting implementation of a reverse-proxy server. The BT security guys (in Australia) run a setup whereby all incoming web requests have to go via an inbound proxy server that checks the request strings to make sure they are sane. All parameterised requests (like http://myurl?param1=hello¶m2=world) have to be defined in a configuration database in terms of parameter name, whether they are required or not, and what size they can be. I guess this avoids any issues like the nasty malformed-url bugs that plagued Microsoft IIS server a wee while ago.
The problem is that I’m having trouble hunting down the guys at BT Oz that actually know how this thing is meant to work. I’ve been dumped an issue where we’re having intermittent refusals of a particular URL/parameter configuration. My first instinct was “ah well this reverse-proxy thing is an internally-written app, so maybe there’s a bug in there somewhere…”. So off I go to get some resolution.
Turns out nobody knows who to talk to about reverse-proxy issues. The local dudes say to file a request with the helpdesk. The helpdesk dudes refer me to the security group. The security group reckon maybe a server implentation guy might know about it. The server guy says to call another web developer who has had the same sort of problems. The web dev dude reckons I should talk to my line manager.
Finally I manage to dredge up a document explaining how to configure the proxy rules, and manage to find a guy with permissions to upload new rules to the internal testing server. We confirm all the rules are sweet, then do an upload. No joy, same problem. I finally gave up after hanging on the end of the phone for 20 minutes while two guys in Oz muttered about how “that’s weird, it should work” and “we’ll just restart it one more time“…
Maybe it’ll sort itself out before Monday morning?