Mike Schaeffer's Blog

March 23, 2007

My current day job involves devloping software that uses Oracle as its back end. I've built a local development environment on my laptop using Oracle Express Edition, the freebie give-away version. To make a long story short, I forgot my local database password and had to uninstall, download, and re-install Oracle. To download Oracle, you have to be logged into their website and of course, I had forgotten that password too.

To save folks like me from themselves, Oracle has a password recovery service in their website. This service works like most other similar services: enter your e-mail address and it then resets your password and sends the new one to your e-mail account. What their service does not do is trim the leading and trailing spaces off of the entered e-mail address. It just tries to look up whatever you entered in the password database. If you happen to have a trailing space on your address, it will not recognize it and not do the password reset. Since the website uses a proportional font, and spaces are quite narrow, it's easy to miss the error and you will likely be left wondering why Oracle forgot your account. This seems perfectly in keeping with Oracle's seeming effort to keep their site as obtuse as possible in comparison with Microsoft's developer site. Seriously guys, you sell a platform: Its value is directly proportional to the number of developers coding for it and the amount of code written to it. Make it as easy as possible, and it will only help your bottom line. Microsoft understands this, why don't you?