QASI: Linux Is A Harsher Mistress Than Windows

PhilK sends a link to the Original Software Reading Room page, which looks like this:

You know something bad will happen when you click that link, right?
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You know something bad is going to happen when you click that link, right?

As John Madden must have said often enough for it to be used as a John Madden impersonation catchphrase even though I never say John Madden say it, “Bam!”

Yeah, a 404.
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PhilK notes that this link is okay when you click it on other pages:

My kingdom for a little n!
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PhilK says:

whats a big N and little n matter ?

As he undoubtedly knows, they matter a great deal when your site is hosted on a Linux Web server. Perusing the code here, I see that the site was built with DreamWeaver, and I just bet that the designer was running it on a Windows desktop. So even if the designer tested it as he designed it (in our dreams!), those filenames would have resolved correctly because Windows doesn’t match case in filepaths. But once the designer FTPed that up to the production Web server (perhaps using the wonderful FTP Voyager package from RhinoSoft), those links stopped working.

The designer could learn two lessons from this:

  • Test on production, too.
  • Make your dev environment match the production environment whenever possible.

However, we know designers are not actually teachable; any adaptations they display are merely mimickry of what other designers are doing now.

Here’s another bit that I found odd about the site. It’s on the Experts page. While PhilK mocks the text at the top of the page (“With more than 100 years in the industry”, which we know means all 200 employees have at least six months experience), I found the behavior of the drop-down lists noteworthy. On page load, they display no default:

No defaults in the drop-down lists
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But if you click the Reset button, the select value displays:

Default value attained!
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That’s a small thing, but something that bothers me. Not to mention the reliance on opening new browser windows for internal site navigation.

Do I get any more satisfaction writing about testing companies’ problems? I get no joy out of any of it. Only sorrow tempered with the occasional snicker.


UPDATE: Congratulations to Original Software for the quick fix after the public defect report via QAHY. I hope you’ll apply this lesson to new content in the future.

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