The Fundamentals of Troubleshooting

Web Programmers Tools & Experience To Fix Your Web Woes

How we troubleshoot your website as Portland web programmersThings rarely work the way you want them. Even a well-planned website or software project will hiccup somewhere along the way. If to err is human, then I can promise you that everything we humans touch has the propensity for failure. Unfortunately, the inner machinations of any problem rarely just present themselves to you plainly, even when they are themselves plainly visible. In my decades of experience I have solved problems in minutes that others have toiled weeks over and I have shed hours of sweat and tears over a problem that someone else solved in seconds. It proves without a doubt that a fresh pair of eyes goes a long way. More importantly, its demonstrates just how cleverly concealed a bug can be.

In our line of work we are often called upon to solve the myriad of web-related bugs/problems that can ail a website. To understand how hard such a task can be you have to understand that programming languages, while strict in their syntax, are rarely as strict in their explanation of what a problem is. A single character of text can mean the difference between a well-oiled and fully operational web site and a white page filled with cryptic error messages.

There are many components to a modern website:

  1. HTML:  the building blocks of the web page — think of HTML as a house with windows, doors, and rooms.
  2. CSS: the rules that dictate how those blocks appear — think of CSS as the paint, siding and anything else that makes your house pretty.
  3. JavaScript: the programming language that determines how special things work — if your house had a automatic garage door, a security system, or a doorbell.
  4. Server Code: the language that processes and presents ALL of the above to the user through your browser — think of this as the land your house is on, the streets leading to your house, even the neighborhood your house resides in.
  5. The Internet: think of this as the city, state, or country your house is in.

A problem in any one of the above components can cause your website to fail. A misplaced brick (HTML) will make the house crumble. The wrong color of paint (CSS) will make your house ugly. Faulty wiring (JavaScript) can make your lights not work. If the electrical company has a failure (Server) then everyone around you AND your house will be left in the dark. What’s worse is if  you have a flood or earthquake or fires that make traveling to your house impossible via the roads (Internet). Then even if your house is fine, no one can get to it to see it.

Web programmers codeDoing what we do often involves interpreting the error. Sifting through lines of code is much like like looking for the individual pages of a book in a snowstorm. The longer you look for it, the more you are sure it doesn’t exist. Eventually you find it, and you realize that you need to find more pages just to understand it.

It’s our job to know best how to approach the problems plaguing your website. By utilizing our own experience in such problems — or trusted outside resources in problems that are outside of our experience — and by demonstrating the tried and true practices of problem solving when all else fails, you can be assured that we will find a solution to your web woes.

It’s what we do.

Contact us to see how we can help with your website.