STSADM has a comforting message that is presented whenever a command is executed successfully. That comforting message is simply “Operation Completed Successfully.” It’s a welcome site particularly if you’ve been struggling to get an XML file just right or if it’s the end of a long day. However, just because you received an “Operation Completed Successfully” message back from STSADM doesn’t mean the command really completed successfully.
Occasionally, you may run into a situation like I did where I received STSADM’s reassurance that everything was fine but it wasn’t. I was creating a content type and I had accidentally inserted a space at the end of the content type name. It was a silly little editing error, but it cost me a whole lot of time. I didn’t realize that the space was there until a workflow that needed it blew up. That, of course, lead to a debugging session, which lead to isolating the missing content type, which lead to reinstalling the feature, and then several minutes of confusion as I compared the web browser demonstrating that the content type was missing with the response from STSADM indicating “Operation Completed Successfully”
A quick trip into the ULS log or a detailed look at the XML either one will solve the problem – however, for that moment I was confused.
So the moral of this story is … check the ULS log if you want to know what really happened.