A Lesson Learned in Debugging Blog Templates
Unbelievable! I was up late last night trying to figure out why my blog home page suddenly stopped showing up in Internet Explorer. It happened at the same time Blogger went down with a hardware upgrade so I figured that must have been the problem. It made sense to me at the time.
However, after blogger was back up — still no homepage, and yet my post pages were still there. It also worked fine in Firefox and Opera.
So I spent hours fiddling with the code and almost gave up until I decided to go retro with an older version of the template and ouilla I was back!
I pieced back the latest code upgrades a bit at a time, saving it then republishing and testing it again. It was a painstakingly tedious process but well worth it because eventually I came across a title tag that wasn’t closed properly. When I fixed it everything was back to normal again.
Imagine that such a small thing could stop IE dead in its tracks. You would think that stuff like that should throw Firefox for a loop because it is more standards compliant and less tolerant than IE.
Under normal circumstances I would have just reverted back to the older code and pieced it back together from the start, but because it happened simultaneously with Blogger’s upgrade I had errantly convinced myself that it had to be related. Silly me.
I had also noticed some weird things happening with the html rendering that convinced me the code may have somehow been corrupted. But in hindsight I was making it more complicated than it needed to be.
So there’s a good lesson for us all. Always make sure you save a backup of your template before changing it. So when it all goes wrong (and believe me it will) you can fall back to a previous version. And just like when you got lost in the woods, backtrack one step at a time until you get your bearings again. That is the first and foremost rule of debugging.
It’s also a good idea to have a test account set up and do your experimenting there and not with your primary blog. That’s good advice for everyone including an old hand at programming such as myself. Sometimes I can still get a little too cocky for my own good.
While I was at it I also fixed the left sidebar menu. Now I have to get the top banner to behave better with larger fonts. After that I will look into making the entire template fit higher screen resolutions, but only after I pick up a ferret for my daughter and get some sleep.
Such is a geeks life. As frustrating as it can be at times I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Related links: blog bloke, instabloke, website design, template, debugging, blogtech, webtech