Unscripted Web Design and the 404 Sanity Drainer

Message error 404Image by CyboRoZ via Flickr
Written by Ivy Guiler – UnscriptedLife.com
I leaned back from my laptop, affectionately known as Lolita, and gave my newly finished website one final glance. The logo was perfect, the content was in place and the menus were in working order. I even had a few hours left before my son would wake up and enough caffeine left in my system to catch up on a few episodes of True Blood on OnDemand.
The last thing to do was jump over to my global settings and take the site live. Three weeks of work, five different themes, and countless module changes had all come down to this one moment. As I kicked back on the couch in celebration, I was surprised at how easy it all was…
Easy… I should have seen the irony.
The next morning, I made my son a big breakfast and headed into the office to do a little research for a new post. I didn’t even have time to open a browser before my husband chimed in on IM.
“I thought you put your site live last night,” he typed.
“I did,” I answered, wondering why he was asking me instead of just looking.
After a few moments of silence, he typed: “You might want to take a look then.”
‘Oops! This link appears to be broken’ — 404 error‘ flashed across the screen of my Google Chrome browser.
“I’m sure it’s just a browser issue,” I thought to myself.
So I jumped over to Firefox: ‘404 — Component not found.’
Internet Explorer: ‘This page cannot be found — 404 error’
Safari: ‘Safari can’t find the server — 404 error’
I paused, wondering if somehow in my sleep I managed to get back online and crash my entire site. I pictured myself caught in an alternate reality where my sleep self secretly has it in for my awake, somewhat sane state.
“What is a 404 error?” I asked myself, popping back to the present where I had a somewhat significant problem on my hands.
I quickly came to the conclusion that some part of my joomla install must have been botched. Of course, reinstalling meant losing everything, but having everything and a site that doesn’t work wasn’t much better. I reminded myself the hardest part of this redesign was deciding on my theme. So reinstalling everything should be pretty easy.
Easy… there is that word again. Go ahead and insert an evil, sarcastic pipe organ here.
I dug into my case of energy drinks later that evening and began the re-install. I formatted my menus and got the sections and categories all worked up. I went to bed with only the sidebar left to configure. The site appeared almost complete.
But when I awoke… ‘404 – Component not found.’
“I need to stop going to sleep,” I said to myself.
One by one, I started disabling modules and settings hoping to find the one piece that triggered the devastation.
Syndication… ‘404 – Component not found.’
Logo… ‘404 – Component not found.’
User menu… ‘404 – Component not found.’
The word easy was no longer in my vocabulary.
Every setting… ‘404.’ Every module… ‘404.’ Every page… ‘404.’ That number was quickly becoming my kryptonite. I pictured myself sweeping into my computer and magically fixing all of the settings… then being crushed by ‘404.’
Obviously, my sanity had too been erased by ‘404.’
The theme designer figured out that all of the issues were due to one article, an original article that came with the theme, being unpublished. One article… even he was surprised that it could be that easy.
I re-enabled the modules and slowly started getting the site back to working order. Every change, I checked to see if the site was still working. As soon as I enabled the last component… ‘404.’
The problem this time… a comma out of place.
Welcome to my unscripted life!

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18 Comments Unscripted Web Design and the 404 Sanity Drainer

  1. CatLadyLarew

    Just stopped over from Me-Me's blog. Congrats on the Golden Phallus and even bigger CONGRATS on that fabulous blog you've got over here. Great stuff!

  2. Mr. Stupid

    Hello Ivy. I have looked at your website and now I realize what I have been missing all these days. I will be a frequent reader. Congrats on fixing all the errors…:)

    Hello Winner. Congrats Lauren. Well, you had me laughing when I saw your comment even before the results were announced. Congrats on the Award…:)
    Have a great weekend…

  3. ReformingGeek

    Fun post.

    Reminds me of my programming days!

    One comma or a missing parenthesis = Bald programmer.

    Congrats on winning Me-Me's Big One.

  4. Lauren

    CatLadyLarew: Thanks so much! I really appreciate what you said about my blog. Thanks for swinging by and commenting.

    Mr. S: Thanks for the congrats and for reading Ivy's blog. Have a great day!

    ReformingGeek: Glad you enjoyed Ivy's post. Programming is like, uh, er Geek to me. : ) Thanks for the note of congratulations and for stopping by.

    Mrsblogalot: Appreciate your stopping by to congratulate me. Thanks so much for your kind words and for the follow.

    See you all around the Intertubes.

  5. Bonehead

    Great article! Having spent many frustrating hours over the past couple of months learning the intricacies of building websites – I can relate. It's amazing to realize that one little thing (like a comma) can do so much to cause everything to go haywire – but it's all part of the process when you learn through trial and error!

  6. Lauren

    Perry: Thanks. I do appreciate that. : )

    J: Ivy went through hell in creating her website. I can't wait to read more articles about her experience. She's also a great satirical writer.

  7. Ryhen

    Hey, this is pretty nice, Lauren. I enjoyed reading it, especially the 404 error. Haven't experienced that, but I did get a lot of "cannot be parsed" crap with blogger when I was in the process of designing my blog.

    Ok, I have to drop by Ivy's blog now and check her out… I mean, check out her blog. nuninuninu…

  8. Lauren

    Thanks, Ryhen. I'm glad you enjoyed the post and that you will check out Ivy's blog. I will be dropping by Virtual Synapses to read the new articles you posted.

  9. Will

    Hi Lauren.
    Seen that,Been there and more then once, and the worst is that it always happens when you're so close to finishing it.GRRR
    Then it's just the most silly thing that screws it all up.
    But that's how it go's and we all have to pay that price and lay awake at night trying to figure it out .lol
    Congrats on winning the award!
    Have a great day.

  10. Ivy

    You all are so wonderful! Thanks for stopping by and checking out the post (and my blog)! I can't wait to stop by each of your sites as well! Stay tuned for more adventures and, as always, rock hard and steady!

  11. Ivy

    You all are great! I have to say, I've been checking out all of your blogs. Lauren sure does "hang" with a fabulous crew!


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