The other day I was working on a website that used a third-party tool. I’ve been building websites for nearly 20 years so using and integrating third-party code is quite normal for me.
I wanted to enable specific functionality in the third-party tool so I fed my question into a search engine and loaded some of the suggested results. They all pretty much gave the same solution so I followed their instructions as closely as I could.
And the solution didn’t work.
I searched online for more solutions but they all said the same thing. This was a real head-scratcher so I decided to check the official documentation for the third-party tool. Guess what? The official documentation also gave the same solution everyone else was parroting.
Too bad it wasn’t working for me.
Finally I decided to dig into the source code. The tool was open source and I’m comfortable with code. Guess what I found: the suggested solution had been deprecated. That’s fancy programmer talk for “this used to work but we’re removing it because reasons” which isn’t uncommon in the software life-cycle. The code had been deprecated so recently that even the official documentation hadn’t been updated.
So what about all those solutions I found online? Technically they were still correct but for an older version of the tool.
This got me thinking:
- There are old, default solutions/habits we all have. And 90% of the time they work fine. But for the times they don’t, try something new and different.
- Just because everyone else is saying it doesn’t mean it’ll work for you at that point in time. Listen to older, wiser & more experienced folks but be honest when their suggestions aren’t working.
- This is for the programmers out there: keep your freaking official documentation up-to-date!