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     Coffee Code      

OK – back in April,  PHP got me smoking again – I’m fairly certain Javascript will lead me to drink this month – and who knows to what new lows  CGI or AJAX will take me…  My husband says that by the time I finish this program I’ll have so many vices I’ll have to become a journalist instead of a web designer!

But seriously, folks – Javascript. I find it easier to understand than PHP – although it uses many of the same operations; strings, functions, if statements, while loops, switch statements, regular expressions, etc.  Maybe I do actually remember some if the PHP I learned (was it only a couple of months ago?). I am also aware that a great part of the appeal of Javascript for me is the instant gratification  – being a client-side language, I can see the results of my work instantly – more to the point I can see my mistakes right away!

And the mistakes are really what I learn from. I find I can draw some parallels from the classroom experience to my “real life”. For example, just yesterday I had written a piece of code to fulfill an assignment in class. It was running perfectly on my classroom computer. I had the teacher check it and she said it was fine – then she left for the day.  As soon as I loaded it up to the server it went all catawumpus. None of my smaller images showed up – at all! I tried everything – I checked and re-checked the punctuation (those single and double quotation marks will be the death of me…) Got a couple of classmates to look at it – they were as much in the dark as I was. I made sure I had the divs where they should be and that the CSS was good. I validated the HTML  and the CSS with the W3C Validators. All good. Downloaded it and uploaded it again (well, it’s Windows – you never know…).  It still worked great on my computer. It still wouldn’t work properly on the server. I was going nuts.

So I went home. I had a beer and sat on my deck and looked at my gardens. I thought about other things. I cooked supper and ate it, and finally went into my “office” and sat down at my computer.  I opened my FTP program to download the files from the school server to my home computer, and VOILA!  There, clear as day, was the answer to my problem.

I was looking at a list of the files on the server, and I saw that the ones that were not showing were the ones with capitalized file extensions.  The program I had created the images with automatically saves in that format and I had forgotten. I went in and changed the extensions to lowercase right on the server, and as simple as that, it’s fixed. It runs perfectly. Took less than five minutes. I am happy.

And the parallel is, not to bang it home too bluntly – a paraphrase of something my Mom told me years ago – If you have tried everything in your power, everything you can think of, that’s the best you can do. Leave it alone for awhile and come back to it with fresh eyes. Maybe you’ll see a solution then, maybe not, but fretting and worrying over something you can’t fix is a waste of time and energy. Take a break, go do something else, and come back to it when you are calmer. I have to keep reminding myself of this, and these reminders are a pretty nifty side- effect of this whole back-to-school experience.

But seriously – Javascript? I wish they had called it something nicer – maybe named it after something I truly love – why couldn’t it be called Coffee Code?