Project 2010: Problems since the February CU if you have a semi-colon (;) as your list separator

*** Update 4/2/2015 – you may hit this post researching similar issues for 2013 – and we have fixed some list separator bugs already – see the CU lists on http://blogs.technet.com/projectsupport – but I know there are others (Thanks Joerg!). One I was just alerted to was using the Task Information dialog for making resource assignments if their name includes a semicolon and the list separator is also a semicolon (;). We will be working on a fix for this shortly. ***

*** Update – The issue reported in this blog was fixed in the August 2012 client CU – support.microsoft.com/…/2687386 ***

In the February Cumulative Update for Project 2010 we fixed an issue described as:

    • You create an .mpp file that was saved from a Project server by using the Save for Sharing command. When you try to resave the .mpp file back to the Project server in Project 2010, the save process fails, and you receive the following error message:
      • Project Server was unable to find the specified resource. If the problem continues, contact your server administrator.
    • This issue occurs when the list separator character that is contained in resource names within the .mpp file on the client differs from the list separator character on the server.

We are now finding that in fixing this, we broke a couple of other things that you may be running into if you are using a list separator that is a semi-colon (;).  This is most likely in Europe or Canada, but I’m sure there are plenty of other places that could see this too.  The issues are all related and we are working on a fix for them all, but just wanted to share some workarounds in case you are hitting these.  The different scenarios I have seen so far are:

 

    • Using Task Information dialog to remove or add resource assignments to a task
    • Using the Assign Resources dialog to add multiple resource assignments
    • Using the Task Information Dialog to set predecessors or successor information

*** Update – For Spanish readers – http://blogs.technet.com/b/elfarodeprojectserver/archive/2012/05/17/project-2010-problemas-desde-el-cu-de-febrero-2012-si-tenemos-un-punto-y-coma-como-separador-de-lista.aspx ***

So here are some examples of what can go wrong – and these examples need certain settings to be in place before you would ever see them, so don’t feel left out if you don’t experience any of these issues.

This first example assumes you have the semi-colon as list separator and also this is used in your resource names as a separator between first and last names.  So you have a task that is already assigned to Smith; Brian and Jenkins; Adrian, and you want to add Fiessinger; Christophe.  So initially your Task Information dialog looks like this:

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Then you add Fiessinger; Christophe – and click OK – then you will see this:

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That doesn’t look quite right?  Opening up the Task Information dialog again I see:

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It has split each name in two, and created 6 new local resources – and assigned them.  A couple of things here – it will not lose actual work – any assignments that already have work will be OK – and will not get un-assigned – but the extra local resource will still get created.  Undo will also put things right.  The same thing can occur even if you are removing a resource using this same dialog.  If I removed Jenkins; Adrian, it would create Smith and  Brian as two local resources.  The workaround here is to use the Resource Names column in one of the views such as the Gantt view – and select/deselect from the drop down.

The second issue is with the Assign Resources dialog (which is why it isn’t a good workaround for the first issues) and it has a couple of different scenarios depending on your use of the list separator in the resource names.  If you do have the separator – like the example above – then you cannot assign from the Assign Resources dialog – the Assign button is disabled – as I show here.

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However, if I choose a resource with no list separator in the name the Assign button is active:

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The further issue with the Assign Resources comes when you make multiple selections that do not contain the list separator, such as the following:

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When I click Assign – I see an extra resource in my list, with a very cool name – “adrian jenkins;brian smith;christophe fiessinger” – and he/they has/have been assigned to the task.

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If I look at the resource sheet I can see “adrian jenkins;brian smith;christophe fiessinger” has been added as a new local resource.  The workaround here, assuming you do not have the list separator in the name, is to assign one at a time, or of course the Resource Name column in the Gantt view can be used as for the previous example.

The last scenario is back to the Task Information dialog, but this time we are looking at the Predecessors tab.  Say we have 3 tasks, T1, T2, and, you guessed it, T3.  We open the Task Information dialog for T3, go to the Predecessors tab and enter either the IDs of the first two tasks, or select them in the drop down like this,

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then press OK, we get the following error message.  There is a problem with the predecessor information.

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The workaround for this one is to go to a view such as the Gantt view, and use the Predecessors column, and enter 1,2.

For each of these you could also work around them by setting your list separator to not be the semi-colon – but I appreciate that might give you some issues elsewhere – as it is a global setting on your PC.  If you wish to try this you can go to Control Panel – Clock, Language and Region – Change the date, time or number format, then select Additional Settings then change the List Separator from a semi-colon to a comma, for example. 

Sorry for any inconvenience this problem has caused you – and I will update this posting once I find out when a fix will be coming along – and potentially any other scenarios that I am made aware of where this bug rears its ugly head, and thanks to the customers that have quickly brought this to our attention.