The situation was that the IT company employed to maintain the client’s web sites was unable to resolve a problem that had emerged. Our initial diagnostic identified the problem as being caused by a server software version update, the client’s web site was incompatible with the new version.
The client took that diagnosis back to their maintenance provider. As a short-term fix they moved the web site to a different web hosting provider (at significant cost), the new host maintained older software versions for longer allowing more time for the web site to be upgraded to work correctly with the latest version.
Unfortunately, after the move, while most aspects of the web site did work as intended another problem emerged, the user was unable to add new items to the database. Once again the maintenance provider was unable to resolve the issue and the client came back to Laser Technik for assistance.
This problem was rather more of a challenge. Everything appeared to have been migrated between servers correctly, no program changes had been made, the underlying server software was on the versions the website needed. There’s a quite from Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes that applies “When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” In this instance, after careful investigation, the problem that had emerged appeared impossible – but it was true. We went to the extent of writing our own database access program code, that worked as intended so now the issue became “why does our code work while the original fails?”. The technicalities are difficult to explain but after many hours scrutiny we were able to identify an “insignificant” configuration setting as the cause. Once that was identified the fix was trivial.
In the event of us being asked to investigate a similar issue in future for any of our clients what we learnt will result in a much faster resolution.
The task also highlights that fact that many web design agencies may have great graphic design skills but fall short when it comes to technical issues.