OK, I have something I want to rant about. You may have noticed that the L2P site was kinda screwy for awhile, and as Webmaster I’ve had to fix all the screwups… Both mine and those of others.

While it’s better to do things right from the start, problems will always happen, because that’s just the way life works. So I’m going to give you tips on fixing any problem you may have, so you don’t have to learn the hard way like I did, as well as some tips to help you avoid the problems in the first place.

Avoiding The Problem
1) Backups and copies are your friends. Be sure to always keep an untouched copy of any file you might change somewhere, preferably in multiple places so they can’t get lost as easily. These precautions won’t change the fact that problems will happen, but it will mean a lot less pain for you when they do.

2) Know the programs you use. A lot of the issues I’ve had to deal with had rather simple fixes, but I didn’t know about them because I was working with an unfamiliar program. The more you know, the less likely it will be that you will do something bad on accident.

3) If you have a team, be sure to communicate. I can’t stress this enough. If you think someone is doing something wrong, but they don’t know anything about it, you’ll have a problem. Communication is key in any team.

4) Test any change you make first, and have as many people look at it as possible, in as many browsers and on as many platforms as possible. A lot of issues won’t be immediately visible to you, and some issues may only be present in certain browsers. By testing things, you can spot problems before they get too big to fix.

5) Make sure you are using the right method for your site. Trying to do something interactive in pure HTML is practically impossible, for example, so a highly interactive site will need to look at other methods. Making sure you are using the right method for your site will save you a lot of pain later, trust me.

Fixing A Problem When It Happens
1) Figure out the exact extent of the problem. This will often tell you where an issue is coming from. Is the issue only in a certain browser, or on a certain platform? You probably have a simple compatibility issue. Is the issue happening site-wide? You have a much bigger problem.

2) Don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether that’s from your friends, family, co-workers, or even yours truly (that’s what the L2P site is for, people). The people you know might be able to fix a problem you could never had fixed yourself, or they might know someone else who can. Even when they are as clueless as you, they can often help pinpoint the problem by helping test things, studying code, or even looking for online resources that can help. There are also many forums online where you can find advice and help on any issue you may have.

3) Don’t be afraid to experiment in a controlled environment. It’s quite possible you will stumble across the solution just by trying things. Just make sure it’s in a controlled environment, like a test page, so your experimenting doesn’t affect the whole site. That part is important, because it’s also possible to make the problem much worse through experimentation.

4) Most importantly, don’t panic, freak out, or get too stressed. If you can’t fix the problem, just find a way to work around it. For example, right now we at L2P are having issues with the templates that allow us to use a specific program to update the site, so I’m having everyone use Dreamweaver instead for the time being. The solution to an issue may not be to fix it, but to work around it… At least at the moment. I would not suggest using workarounds as long-term solutions, but they can help when there is no other option.

Originally posted 2009-08-28 18:13:44.