Server Side/Client Side

One mistake that a number of people make when asking for help with fixing problems in their web page is to ask a question regarding how their site displays/behaves in a web browser and to then supply the original source of the web page as it appears on their server. This makes it far more complicated for anyone looking at the code to actually figure out where the problem might be because the person asking the question hasn't even narrowed it down to whether it is a server side problem or a client side problem.

The way a web page looks and behaves is dependent on the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript that the page contains. It has nothing whatever to do with what code you might have in any server side language thatactually makes up the source of the web page on the server. If the page looks or behaves incorrectly then that means that you have an error in the HTML, CSS, and/or JavaScript that the browser has received from the server. If your page has a problem in this area then it is the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript that you need to provide when asking for help and not the server side code that you are using to generate them.

Of course if you actually look at the generated HTML, CSS, and JavaScript (via one of the many view source options that browsers provide or via one of the debugging tools that most browsers also provide) then you will be able to readily determine whether the problem with your page is actually in the HTML/CSS/JavaScript or whether it is that the server side processing on your site is not generating them correctly.

That immediately breaks up the potential cause of the problem into one of two areas and even if it doesn't provide you with a solution will at least allow you to ask a more specific question. If the problem is client side then you can post the actual generated HTML etc in an appropriate client side forum to ask why it doesn't lookor behave the way it is supposed to (a link to your page so people can see it for themselves is also useful). If the problem is that the HTML is not being generated correctly then you can go ahead and post your original source code on a server side forum asking why it isn't generating the HTML you expected it to create which is a far more specific question and much more likely to be answered than if you just ask why the final page doesn't look right.

By actually doing a little research into the problem for yourself you narrow down the area in which the problem lies (or you may even solve it yourself). The more specific that you can make your question when asking for help the more likely you are to get an answer. Not only can people see that you have actually put in some work of your own in at least trying to figure out the solution (therefore making them more inclined to help) but you also make it much easier for others to help you since it will take far less of their time to help you work out the answer to a very specific question than it would take for them to answer the far more general one. If it looks like it would take a long time to figure out an answer to your question most people will skip over your question so as to help several other people with much quicker to answer questions instead since the sorts of benefit that most people are looking to achieve from helping out answering other people's questions are more closely related to the number of answers that they provide than they are to the difficulty of the questions.


This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.

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