When Written: Jan 2007
Just before the Christmas season began in earnest I decided to try and move one of our Actinic shops to one of our new web servers, which, with hindsight, was probably not the best time to do such a thing. This web server was running windows 2003 web edition and IIS 6 so nothing particularly strange there.
The first thing to install so that Actinic would run is Perl and this is a free download with a simple installer from Active State (http://www.activestate.com). The various permissions for the folders have to be set up for Actinic but an easy to follow pdf is available to download from Actinic’s web site. I followed this to the letter, even remembering to enable Perl as an active web extension, and then I proceeded to run the site setup wizard in Actinic. This normally runs through the tasks of configuring your Actinic site settings to look at the correct folders on the web server and also the settings of the FTP server that will be used to upload the files. This wizard also uploads some test Perl scripts to check that the Perl installation is working correctly and has the necessary permissions to write to parts of the file system. At the end of this wizard you should be in a position to upload your Actinic shop and go live.
However although I have done this on several occasions with previous versions of IIS on the web server, this time everything broke, the wizard would fail with various cryptic messages at different stages and no matter what I tried it would not fully run the wizard nor the ‘test’ routine in the network setup screen. I contacted Actinic support and initially they were puzzled too as they had set Actinic up on IIS 6 before with no problems. How-ever, as we all know, service packs can mean that previously working programs can fail. And looking through the forums it became clear that I was not the only person to have this problem. After uploading and running a test Perl script from them it was noticed that the returned page had at the top of the page the text “Content Type:text/html” which seemed to be incorrect. After trying other Actinic scripts, this text always seemed to be there.
A little investigation with Google and asking some good friends on IRC who live and breathe Perl, revealed that IIS 6 when using the perils.dll as recommended rather than the perl.exe would return this extra text unless some extra code was added to the script. If this is the case I reasoned, the page being returned by the Perl scripts used by the Actinic wizard would have this extra text on them and so when Actinic tested the returned page to see if the returned result was correct it would fail. Actinic modified their scripts and sent me a copy which I put on the machine that had the Actinic program on. The wizard ran perfectly and I was able to upload the Actinic shop with out a hitch. Actinic tell me that there will be a fix in the next patch for Actinic, in the meantime if you are having this problem then please contact them for the modified scripts.
Article by: Mark Newton
Published in: Mark Newton