Misleading Merge Replication Error – Msg 14052

Recently I blogged about two methods to repair transactional replication.

Today I was attempting to apply the same concept as method #2 (which is from Edward Polley’s – Super Fast Transactional Replication Repair – article) when I came across an oddity in Microsoft’s error reporting.

I was executing sp_addmergesubscription, which is not the same stored procedure that Edward was referring to in his article, but I passed in ‘replication support only’ for the @sync_type parameter anyways. I then received this error message:

Msg 14052, Level 16, State 1, Line 1
The @sync_type parameter value must be “automatic”, “none”, “replication support only”, “initialize with backup”, or “initialize from lsn”.

Obviously, I first checked my spelling. I had spelled everything correctly so I was then off to figure out why I was getting an error which explicitly told me my parameter was correct.

So next I looked into the T-SQL of sys.sp_addmergesubscription. Here is where I found what I’m calling; the sloppiness.

** Parameter Check: @sync_type.
** Set sync_typeid based on the @sync_type specified.
** sync_typeid sync_type
** =========== =========
** 1 automatic
** 2 none
IF LOWER(@sync_type collate SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CS_AS) NOT IN ('automatic', 'none')
RAISERROR (14052, 16, -1)

If you were to run the RAISERROR line in the above script you will receive the message indicating 5 potential options for the @sync_type parameter but the IF statement clearly only accepts 2.

I’ve found this to be because Microsoft re-used the error message which was intended for sys.sp_MSrepl_addsubscription (called by sys.sp_addsubscription) on the merge replication side of the feature rather than creating a new, more clear, error message.

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