Murphy’s Law

Okay, deep breath. I’m going to write about this because, well, it is funny, in a dark, ironic way. At least now that a few hours have passed.

I’ve been building a new website/mobile app using several technologies that are new to me. So naturally progress goes in fits and starts, with many pauses while I puzzle something out.

Today, I was wrestling with an issue that was particularly challenging because it involved coordinating several new-to-me software packages at once. I spent hours trying to figure out how to get the site to work, to no avail. Just as I was about to give up — I’d already posted a question on StackOverflow, generally a “I’m throwing in the towel for now” moment for me — when something clicked and I thought of a whole new way of interpreting the documentation I’d been reading. In fact, as I would learn later, I’d found the answer.

So naturally that’s when Google Chrome decided to go wonky.

And not in any rational way. No, this was guaranteed to cause someone who was already frazzled to start pulling out his hair: changes made to the source code for the site were ignored by the Chrome debugger. As in, it wouldn’t even acknowledge that they’d been made. Despite the fact that for hours all I’d been doing was making and testing changes to the very same file.

Now, those who spend time practicing the Dark Arts — aka computer programming — know that this is generally a sign of some old version of the file being stuck in a cache someplace.

Only clearing the browser cache, the webserver cache, rebooting the machine, deleting and recreating all the run-time files, manually deleting temporary files from the hard drive, nothing helped.

I’m still not sure what I did to get things working again. The best I can figure is that by having Chrome delete everything it had touched in the last day — not just the cached files, which is all that should have had to be cleared — I forced it to get rid of whatever was plugging up the pipes.

After which, on the very next run, I had a working site.

Which just goes to prove that Murphy’s Law is only half a joke… at best.

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