Sometimes, I get asked “Can you make some changes to my webpage/site?”
Since I can, and they dont usually take a lot of time, I say “Sure.”
But sometimes, those small changes can turn into a head-pounding nightmare, where I end up screaming at the ceiling, “Why? Dear God, why did they have to do *that*?”
Most of you have probably never built a website from scratch, and then had to set up hosting, upload the pages and then troubleshoot any problems (and no, WordPress is not “from scratch,” because WordPress has done of the hard parts for you; especially on the .com site).
Last week, I was consulting with a good customer on the changes he wanted done on his company’s website(his previous webmistress was often out of town on church business). So there I was, I had downloaded the page I was working on and the images that went with it.
I fired up my trusty, but old, copy of Dreamweaver and set about making the changes that the customer had asked for.
When I uploaded the changed page, and refreshed my browser window, I saw that all but one of the images were “broken”: broken means no pictures were displayed. Technically, the link that tells the web page where to find the pictures was broken.
So, no pictures. On the company’s front page of their website.
I kinda freaked out. The website was live, and and totally broken.
I went and looked for where the image links said the pictures were, and no such folder existed.
On the server, there was an “images” folder. The images folder is where all young designers are suggested to put the pictures for their website, because it makes everything easier.
The young woman who had been maintaining the website previously(who was a professional web designer person) had not been using the images folder.
In fact, it looked like my downloading of the web page had somehow mysteriously moved (not copied) the entire folder with all of the pictures in it to my computer, and erased said folder from the server.
I dont think thats even possible, but its what it looked like. Or, even more impossibly, the download process re-wrote all of the image links in the web page so that they would correspond to an appropriate folder on my hard drive.
After I discovered this had happened is when I was screaming at the ceiling (metaphorically, anyway).
After a brief break, and some deep breaths, I found all of the pictures and was able to move them to the images folder. I refreshed the page, and…
Checked image links.
Now only partly broken.
It had been a half-hour by now, and in the middle of the day. I was kind of expecting my phone to ring and hear the customer ask, “Peter, what happened to the website?” (Fortunately he didnt).
I went back into Dreamweaver and did a global search and replace on all the image links to point them to the right folder.
I saved the page and re-uploaded, and…
Still two images broken.
“How?” I asked my self. It turned a couple of the graphics files were scattered about and I had missed moving them the first time.
I fixed that, refreshed the page, and…
Just something to remember the next time you change website maintainers and there is gibbering when you call for an update.