There IS such a thing as a little too much space

This team is upgrading a JBoss application server from Java 7 to Java 8, as well as converting several configuration files from XML to text properties files -- "just to make sure there were plenty of possible problems to troubleshoot," says a pilot fish on the team.

"Initial testing in the development and test environments seemed to go fine, with no major hiccups or problems.

"We moved on to deployment on the operational system -- and the JBoss component wouldn't start correctly. Error messages indicated that at least one of the property values, which is an integer, can't be read because it's a string and can't be converted.

"Troubleshooting showed that the property file seemed to be fine. File permissions were good, and other property values in the file could be read correctly.

"By hardcoding the integer value in the XML files, we fixed the problem -- but that's not the 'right way' now, so the fix had to be found.

"And finally, after pushing the end of the maintenance window with hours and hours of troubleshooting, the culprit was found: There was a simple trailing space after the integer value, so the system read it as the string '500 ' instead of the value 500.

"That single space ended up being pretty expensive, given the hourly rate of the engineers working the issue!"

If you tell Sharky your true tale of IT life, you can put in all the extra spaces you like. So send me your story at You'll snag a snazzy Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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