15 May 2011

Remember the dude that gave up? Neither does anyone else.

One of the most frustrating parts of web development is finding a problem that seems unsolvable.

As a freelance web developer, I run in to this problem occasionally. Here are a few tips that may help you to solve some of the seemingly unsolvable problems.

Try Searching between a specific Time Period

Many of us use Google when looking for solutions or answers to questions. It is very easy to just accept the results presented and click away on the results to look for the answer.

Try selecting “More Search Options” from the left hand side of the search results. From there you can select from several predetermined time ranges (Last month, Last 3 Month, Last Year) or you can select your own ranges of dates to search between. Doing this usually alters the results displayed.

I have found that when I am trying to accomplish something I haven’t seen before, searching for results indexed during the last 1 to 3 months produces some very constructive answers.

There is nothing worse that trying to do something new with WordPress and getting results from a blog post from 2008. While it may still have some value, it is most likely out of date and you may find yourself getting frustrated while trying to implement the solution because it won’t work now.

Alter Your Search Terms

Another choice on the left of Google’s search results under “More Search Tools” is “Related searches“.

This tool breaks down your search and combines it with other terms to offer a list of possible related search terms. Sometimes, in solving a problem, we may use one term for the solution. While someone else may have posted a resolution using slightly different keywords.

Again, the refreshed results may offer a more production solution.

Try a different search engine

While Google is probably the most common search engine we use, there are others that have been around a little longer.

Yahoo! for example started out as a Web Directory. Using the Yahoo! search engine often produces different results that could lead to a solution.

Take a Break

Sometime, if all else fails, walk away from the problem for awhile.

I find this has proven one of the best solutions towards solving a problem. While it doesn’t present a solution, walking away from the computer, perhaps going for a walk outside, allows me to rethink my approach to resolving the problem.

Giving up is a “Fail”

What ever you do, don’t give up. A solution will present itself with the proper approach.

As my good friend Martin says, “Failure is not falling down. It is not getting back up.”

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