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On this small corner of the internet, I write about the various things that catch my fancy. From software, to organizational process, to poetry and music.
Sometimes, just RESTART
Thursday, September 7, 2017
By Etin Obaseki
I learnt a really powerful life lesson from a weird Node.js malfunction. Here it is:
I was working late again the other day, and I got hit by a very powerful life lesson:
Sometimes, you need to RESTART
You need to step back and look at the problem from a different angle.
Sometimes, it just isn’t really your fault at all.
Sometimes, there’s nothing you can do about the problem, and that’s okay.
Actually, before I get really deep and philosophical, I should tell the actual story, yeah?
So, over the past few days, I’ve been working on the company’s email newsletter. Let me first mention to everyone, that building email templates are a real pain in the backside.
Apparently, email clients are so backwards that they do not support anything made after the 19th century! I might be exaggerating a fair bit, but it certainly seems that way.
First off, you can’t build any layouts without using tables. Tables! To give you a bit of context, I started web development about 2 years ago. At that time, using tables for layouts was already something only people out of touch with reality or maintaining legacy systems did.
Now, in the present day, I’m being told that I have to use tables for layouts?! Crazy!
Interesting as this little diversion is, it’s not the main thrust of my story. Long story short, I “discover” Inky from Foundation. A framework that makes it a lot easier (and saner) to write email templates. So I start using that, and in a matter of minutes, I already coding up an awesome looking template. I show it to my boss and he has a few corrections to make (He’s a serious stickler for design. The “I will notice if you use two spaces instead of one” type (bet you didn’t notice all those extra spaces in the sentence, right? He would.)) and I note them down and decide to get them done when I get back from my outing. So, I shut down and pack up the Titan-II and proceed to explore the Lagos metropolis for a few hours.
Upon my triumphant return to the office, (I finally conquered my fear of the half completed pedestrian bridges on Lekki-Epe Expressway) I turned on my computer to implement a few of the changes before going to bed. When she wakes up, (she’s quite the heavy sleeper nowadays) I run
$npm start to get my development server up and running and out of nowhere I seeing so many red lines. Now, remember I just started using this framework yesterday, I have almost no idea how to start debugging. I proceed to search on all the forums I can find for someone with a similar problem. I find many and begin plugging away at my keyboard, trying solutions I only half understand, hoping that one of them will work and save me the stress of starting again.
Nope, Nope and…. wait I think…Nope.
None of them work. So, I’m now trying to remember if the thing ever worked at all or if I imagined using the framework. In this moment of confusion, I remember these golden words I once read on StackOverflow:
Sometimes, the easiest solution is to restart.
I tried that and voila, like magic, my email templates were working again.
So, back to the beginning (or is it conclusion?):
Just restart, bruv’ (or sis’). Sometimes, the problem isn’t anything you can fix by hitting the keyboard. Sometimes, those electrons just need to be reset.
This applies to life too. Sometimes, you just need to take a step back and reset the situation.