I have a fish

I know the saying is “I have a beef” but having a fish seems more fun…. and then it also goes with ‘I have a bone to pick’ as well, because I always have bones in my fish. 

This weekend I was working on a project, programming in ColdFusion, using one of those discount hosting places that everyone seems to love unless they’re the actual programmers.  There are a lot of things that go in to getting a site set up for use with ColdFusion.  You have to not only create the code, but create the database and the datasource connection, and any time things go wrong, it can cause a spiral of issues that continue to compound.  After spending several hours getting everything set up, I finally got to coding only to find that things I’ve done in the past on our DDA servers were not as easy to do on this particular server, as certain things were unavailable due to security restrictions.  One of these was the ColdFusion createobject.  Eventually I found that the createobject had a decent substitute in cfinvoke.  So what I was thinking was, well, if they’re basically doing the same thing, why is one locked down and not the other?  I believe the answer coming from what I’ve researched on the web is that the instantiation of objects using cfinvoke is different from createobject.  Also, cfinvoke does not appear to be able to instantiate java objects, which I guess is what drives the lock down.  Now if you ask tech support, they’ll say there is no such lock down, that everything is fine and you’ve just improperly coded your scripts.  Never mind that within the 5 items in the entire ‘knowledgebase’ one of them clearly states that certain tags are not available.  So on to other things.  I finally get my coding in and I begin adding code to upload an image.  CFFILE is a great function, one I tend to use on every project for some thing or another.  Unfortunately what ColdFusion doesn’t tell you is that CFFILE actually uploads first to a temp directory, and then into the destination folder.  If you do not have access to that temp directory, gosh golly, you’ll not be able to get that file uploaded and accessible.  So what do you do?  Tech support.

Here’s my beef.  Tech support.  Now I know that 90% of the people out there that contact tech support are probably on the lower rungs of the technical savvy scale, but for those of us who are not, we like to be regarded as people who know what they’re talking about.  I don’t want a canned response for the first 5 times I contact support, as if my situation was not individually reviewed.  The other day I sent in a problem with some software that I own.  What I got back was a long response about turning off software that I am not running on the computer.  Every now and then I get an error message in another piece of operating system software.  It comes up with an error number and everything.  So then it says to click this link for more information, you know, to help troubleshoot.  So I click the error number and there’s a long list of all kinds of error numbers, but mine is not on the list.  It gets very frustrating.

So how do we avoid this at DDA?  Well for one, all of our clients at DDA are important to us.  Whether we have done custom programming or are hosting websites, we take every issue seriously and try to get to the bottom of every problem.  Sometimes due to conditions out of our control, we cannot solve an issue (usually cross browser incompatibility) but we take the time to provide the best support we can.  We have several people on staff with varying degrees of knowledge and experience, and we can rely on that entire set of knowledge when diagnosing issues and troubleshooting.  Our support will never be form letter sent, unless of course it’s something like setting up an email account on Outlook, where we have created a simple step by step process that we can direct users to.  But the fact that we would send that only after knowing what the real problem is, rather than using that as a first step, will set us apart from most other technical companies.