Simple Debugging of Server Apps

Here’s some food for thought for anybody who develops server software… I like to know what’s going on without having to jump through hoops.

This post was provoked after spending my weekend on a Server 2003 / Active Directory / Exchange deployment. As part of the system, we are using Ed Forgacs’ wonderful Exchange Connector. It sits in the “it-just-works” category, but I have no idea what the hell it’s doing. If I want to see a log file, I need to give it a SQL database and then I need to go and query the SQL database myself. For 99.999% of the time this is fine, but sometimes I just want to quickly check up on what’s happening.

On one of the servers I manage, we host email for 50 or so of our client’s domains with hMailServer. It’s a great little mail program that just works. (In a hosting environment like this, Exchange is too tightly coupled with Active Directory to be useful.)

One of the nicest features to the whole program for me is the logging. Sure, I can save a log to a file … like so:


BUT – I can also go to the “Logging” tab quickly and just click “Start”. This is immensely useful for quick little debugging tests.