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Alden Bates' Weblog

Feigning normality since 1973

eFiction sucks part 2

Filed in: Website Management.

eFiction was inherited from the previous management of Teaspoon when it was taken over and I volunteered to act as co-techie. Unfortunately there are many places where eFiction is lacking, and one of those is error recovery.

For instance, if the SQL server is down, rather than fail gracefully, you get errors all over the site saying things like:
Warning: mysql_fetch_array(): supplied argument is not a valid MySQL result resource in /home/whoficco/public_html/index.php on line 35

Which doesn't look very nice, and doesn't tell the user what the problem actually is. This is because there's no test to see if a database query succeeded before going ahead and using the result set.

Equally not very nice is the fact that if, when someone edits a story, eFiction can't open the file to write the changed text to, it fails silently. Yes, it discards the changes and cheerfully gives the user a "Story successfully changed!" message, despite the fact that it hasn't! As this will cause data loss, I've fixed our version to display an error message instead, so the user can at least press the back button and save their changes externally before contacting us so we can fix the problem on the server.

On a more festive note, Brad has an LJ entry going with cool pictures of Halloween pumpkins.

Posted October 31, 2005 6:21 PM Site Map