Since the data from my resume is kept in an XML file and I've had requests to have it sent as plain text (instead of just sending the URL, which is what I'd been doing), I decided to turn it into an opportunity to mess with some XSLT. Everything was looking pretty good in my development sandbox (a Tomcat instance on my laptop and Eclipse) so I warred it up and deployed it on the production server.
The link to the plaintext version (which worked fine in my sandbox) was puking on the live server. It was generating a server 500 error, a NullPointerException in java.net.URL - oy vey! So I backed up, looked at the Parts inner class in the URL class... it wasn't readily apparent why it was NPE'ing on me - sonuvabitch!
After some slighly panicked puzzling ("I hope no prospective employer-types are clicking on that link now for the plaintext version"), it hit me: in my development sandbox, the webapp was deployed fully expanded, on the production server, it was deployed as a war file... that totally changes the way the XSLT file is accessed and turned into a stream for the Transformer class. The only reason I'd been accessing it as a URL to begin with was the Transformer's unhappiness with being given a plain-old InputStream from the ServletContext (it was throwing MalformedURLException).
The long and the short of it is: if you're accessing an XSLT stylesheet from inside a webapp, be careful how you access it and how you deploy the webapp -- having a request for your resume produce a server 500 error doesn't look so good.
( Mar 08 2004, 02:29:42 PM PST )