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DreamweaverFAQ.com » Tutorials » Miscellaneous » Site Check Or Troubleshooting Assistance


How to Ask for a Site Check or Troubleshooting Assistance

Introduction

All too often in the support newsgroups, we see message subjects such as ***HELP, or SITE CHECK or some other non-descriptive message subject. Due to the fact that the forums likely receive many messages every day (The Macromedia Dreamweaver forum receives on average, roughly 500 messages every single day),these sorts of messages often get ignored by the people that frequent the forums because there is just not enough information in there to give them a hint of what might be going on for you. The people that frequent the newsgroup are likely busy helping the people that post clear subjects and message content so that they can maximize their time online helping without having to do much guesswork. Please remember that nobody is fluent in all aspects of web design, by providing a descriptive subject, you will likely gain the attention of the people more experienced in that discipline and therefor receive much more valuable suggestions.

In order to give people a better chance of understanding what the problem area may be, there are several things that you can do both prior to posting and during posting of your request. These items will do the following for you:

  • Help you diagnose a problem area or discover a problem area that you maybe were not aware;
  • Generate interest by the people 'in the know' to your message;
  • Assist those 'in the know' of providing you with the best possible feedback.

Before Posting Your Message

Validate your page/site.

Important: This is the very first thing you should do prior to asking for troubleshooting assistance or before asking for a site check!

Running your page through an online validator can find weak spots in your page(s) prior to asking for a site check, they are really easy to use these days, just type in a URL, make a selection or two and press go.. a report comes back to you with clear documentation on what the discovered problems are and generally offer solutions to your new found issue.

Where are these validators?

HTML Validator (ONLINE) - Validates the HTML Syntax of your page!
by W3C
URL: http://validator.w3.org/

CSE HTML Validator Pro (OFFLINE) - Validates the HTML Syntax of your pages with real world browser capabilities in mind!
by AI Internet Solutions
URL: http://htmlvalidator.com/

CSS Validator (ONLINE) - Validates the CSS Syntax of your page.
by W3C
URL: http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/

TopStyle Pro (OFFLINE) - Validates the CSS Syntax of your external CSS file(s).
by Bradbury Software
URL: http://www.bradsoft.com/topstyle/index.asp

The biggest #1 killer of your page(s) is incorrect syntax for CSS or HTML or a combination of both, please, before asking for assistance run your files through these services and add a synopsis of the results to your message so that the reader can be confidant that the syntax of the files is correct.

But Wait There's More!

FAQA: - Frequently Asked Question Answers

"It's at the Dreamweaver FAQ site!"
"Do a Google search, that question is answered 5 times every single day in this forum!"
"If you press the F1 key, and do a search for {criteria} you will find your answer"
"Already covered by a thorough Technote at the Macromedia Support Center"

Google Search - Macromedia Group - Search the Macromedia newsgroup for possible solutions to your issue
by Google
URL: http://groups.google.com/groups?oi=djq&as_ugroup=macromedia.dreamweaver

Macromedia Technotes - Search the technotes, maybe there is a known bug that you have encountered!
by Macromedia
URL: http://www.macromedia.com/support/dreamweaver/

Press the 'F1' key while Dreamweaver is running to search the application help files!

If you are reading this tutorial, then you are already at one of the best Question and Answer sites for Dreamweaver there is available! Use the DWfaq Search function to do a search for your question.

Posting the Message

General rules of thumb

  • Be polite and courteous when posting a request
  • Be polite and courteous when replying to the suggestions made
  • Don't be argumentative, just don't reply if you feel you have been slighted (You will be more respected by doing this!)

The Message Subject:

The message subject must be descriptive for a majority of the 'in the know' to even open the message, it's a psychological thing! 'Site Check' or 'HEEEELLLLPPPPP' is insufficient 99.9% of the time and often get ignored!

Some samples of well worded subject lines:

  • REQ: Site Check - User Functionality (MAC - IE/NN)
  • What does this tell us?

    1. It's a REQUEST
    2. It's a site Check
    3. The poster is looking for feedback on the User Experience with their site
    4. The poster only wants Macintosh IE and Netscape users to input
  • Troubleshooting: Layer will not display in NN 4.X
  • What does this tell us?

    1. It's a REQUEST Posting
    2. It's a troubleshooting issue
    3. The issue is relating to displaying of a layer
    4. It relates to Netscape 4.X (Probably PC since it wasn't specified MAC)
  • ANN: New Dreamweaver related website - tutorials and extensions!
  • What does this tell us?

    1. It's an ANNOUNCEMENT Posting
    2. It's directly related to Dreamweaver
    3. It's a new resource website
    4. It has tutorials and extensions on it
  • OT: What software is available for digging the data out of my site logs?
  • What does this tell us?

    1. It's an OFF TOPIC Posting (Although it is related to Web Site Management, it is NOT related to Dreamweaver!)
    2. Looking for software suggestions
    3. The software should be capable of manipulating site log files
    4. No platform specified, so the assumption is PC or MAC, usually both are supplied

The Message Body

Be as clear, concise and descriptive here as possible. This gives the potential helper much more to go on rather than guessing at what the issue MIGHT be.

Some examples of well worded messages:

  • A typical site check message body

    Good evening, I am nearing the end of development for my site, it validates just fine for CSS and HTML and I would appreciate those users with a MAC or a PC using various browsers give it a review and report any potential issues to me. Please detail OS, Browser and version so that I may be as expeditious in repairing as possible. Thank you in advance for taking the time to help. The URL is: http://mysite.com

  • A typical troubleshooting message body

    Hello, I am experiencing the strangest fault in my page. The W3C validator says everything is OK, but Netscape 4.78 doesn't display a layer when it is supposed to. The faulty page is located here: http://mysite.com/somepage.html and in order to see the fault, you should be using Netscape 4.X on PC and try clicking on the {imagenamehere} image or the {linknamehere} link. The layer (ID=MyLayer) should pop up at or near position 0,0 in the browser.

Important: Please do not post the same question every 30 minutes, and please do keep your replies in the same thread. This makes tracking responses and failed suggestions together for easy review by someone else trying to offer assistance.

Lessons Learned

What have you learned from this?

  • Validate your page prior to asking for assistance from others.
  • Do a little research on your own before asking for help
  • Provide a descriptive subject line in support messages
  • Provide a complete description of the issue in the message body
  • Include the URL for the problem page
  • Include if you have validated the page and there were no issues
  • Provide objet name or ID to assist with troubleshooting
  • Provide a description of what you think is supposed to happen
  • Provide navigation directions where ever necessary
  • Be patient (It may take an hour or two or even 24 to get the 'resolution')
  • Be courteous to peoples replies with suggestions
  • Keep your message thread intact

Conclusion

Following this guide will assist you in receiving the best and quickest possible help. Remember, be polite and be patient, it may take an hour or two, or even longer for some people to receive your message and start to offer help. By providing as much detail as possible, some suggestions can even be made, correctly, without even viewing the URL.

Related Resources

The following Macromedia Support Center links are excellent documents which will guide you in the ettiquette for any newsgroup or forum.

Macromedia Online Forum Listing
by Macromedia Support Center
URL: http://www.macromedia.com/support/forums/

Before Posting
by Macromedia Support Center
URL: http://www.macromedia.com/support/forums/etiquette.htm

How to Ask
by Macromedia Support Center
URL: http://www.macromedia.com/support/forums/ask.htm

How to Answer
by Macromedia Support Center
URL: http://www.macromedia.com/support/forums/answer.htm

Using Online Forums
by Macromedia Support Center
URL: http://www.macromedia.com/support/forums/using.htm

::This page last modified 8/13/2013 at 09:37::

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