Comment on The Identical Look of Firefox and Chrome Caused Site Shutdown

The Identical Look of Firefox and Chrome Caused Site Shutdown

White Screen of Death

In my previous article, I mention how the latest version of Firefox has a nearly identical look to Google’s Chrome web browser. When I’m working on new features for my sites, I use Firefox for testing and Chrome to see what the results look like to the users.

I knew one of these days, because both browsers look the same now, I would confuse one for the other and put up untested programming code that would cause havoc on my sites.

That happened yesterday, a lot sooner than I had expected.

I was working on On Firefox, I was logged into the development server, which has a copy of the site, where I can test things out before releasing the changes to the world.

On Chrome, I was logged into the live site, which everyone sees. After several Alt+Tabs, I was on Chrome thinking it was Firefox. I put up new untested code on the live site and boom -- I got the dreaded White Screen of Death. I didn’t realize it until Binh, who manages the editorial for the site, IM-ed me: “Hey, I think the site is broken.”

Not realizing what I had done, I went through my usual routine when one of my sites breaks down. I checked the database to make sure it didn’t crash. I checked the server to make sure it didn’t run out of memory or hard drive space. And finally, I restarted the server, hoping that whatever was broken would magically fix itself. Well, that didn’t happen.

With all of that turning up empty, I went through the error logs. There, I found that culprit: new untested programming code on the live site. I logged into the live site, remove the untested code, and everything went back to normal.

To prevent this from happening again, I installed a theme on Chrome. I wasn’t a fan of themes because they slow down the browser slightly, and it’s hard to find one that doesn’t obscure the navigation elements. But I have a reason to use it now.


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