A few weeks ago a client had a problem editing a page on her website. The site was a Drupal site (Drupal is a type of content management system, a very sophisticated one), and it turned out the editor was not working properly in Internet Explorer. When she switched to Firefox, she had no problem editing the page. (Why it didn’t work in IE may have been due to IE not interpreting some stray code properly, but we were satisfied with switching to Firefox).
I decided to make a list of questions to ask when a computer problem related to a content management system arises. I’ve worked with WordPress, Joomla! and Drupal, and the questions one would ask a client or oneself are similar across platforms.
Here are a few:
- What operating system do you use? (ex. Mac, Windows, UNIX)
- Which browser are you using?
- Have you re-booted your computer?
- Did you paste in code from Microsoft Word? (Microsoft Word code can mess up a site – learn to use a code editor instead. Even little old Notepad in Windows would be an improvement).
- Some sites have test sites that look a lot like the live site. So you can ask: are you editing the test site and looking for the changes on the real/live site?
A quickie solution:
Here’s one just for WordPress: if you get a white screen of death, find your wp-config.php file and allow errors to appear (you will need to know how to use FTP to edit and replace the wp-config file – see the Codex on editing wp-config.php – look for DEBUG). Assuming it is allowed by your webhost, voila, you may find an error message instead of the white screen of death. Use the error message to solve the problem (it will tell you if the problem is a specific plugin, for example, or an error in your theme code).
Your Turn, Please
What questions would you ask? Have you ever had a computer problem that you couldn’t solve, but someone else figured out the “missing link”? Do you have any clever quickie solutions to offer? How do you solve technical problems?