BubbleWs - Is There a Goofier Site On The Web?
What's up today?
Today the venerable site replies to user requests with vague 404 errors.
Umm... the Internet is speechless.
A 404 error is HTTP-speak for "page not found." In other words, the web browser (Chrome, Safari, etc.) tried to open a web page and the page was not on the web server. The missing page could be missing because the user (you) typed it incorrectly or because something went wrong at the web server.
The 404 error is a last-resort on the server-side. Many web developers come up with innovative 404 error pages with eye-catching graphics or clever messages. Some sites simply redirect the web browser to an existing page, such as the home page or a directory page where the user can select another destination on the site.
BubbleWs is currently in a state wherein there is no home page. There's no place to go. All the content is shoved off to the side, buried in some obscure renamed sub-directory or, hopefully not, deleted. It's extremely unlikely that all the content has been lost, but it's certainly temporarily unavailable.
F-Book always has useful info
Testing on the live site
Any capable 2-year technical school, even ITT Tech, will teach you system testing should be performed somewhere beside the live site. Modern web hosting technology makes this trivial.
What we have here is a lazy or overwhelmed (or both) IT department lacking a clue as to how this stuff all works. We see that a new version of the site has been rolled out to the live site before fully tested. Functionality has failed for the world to see. To be fair, there is no reason for this. In 1995, perhaps, web site hosting and development lagged behind actual real-world applications, but a quick check of the calendar on my Apple iWatch reveals that 1995 is long past.
This is the BubbleWs Home Page
To the left is the BubbleWs home page, www.BubbleWs.com. It depicts current and past glitches recorded by site admins. It's intended for, well, certainly not end-users hoping to peruse the site for content. It's not directed at the average web user. We learn from this epic screen that the site will be down for almost 3 days.
If you were an advertiser or online web author, would you have high levels of faith in this enterprise? Would you entrust your content to folks who schedule 3 consecutive days of planned downtime in order to roll out a new version?
Has eBay or Amazon attempted this strategy? What would the Internet think if eBay was down for three days? That would make CBS, NBC, ABC, and PBS evening news broadcasts. The story would lead those broadcasts because the situation is so out of the ordinary.
BubbleWs has a history of goofy stuff
BubbleWs gained a reputation for programming errors. Recently its' photo service, PixABay, 'broke' such that no photos could be added to articles. Photos could be selected by authors, but after publication a generic BubbleWs logo emblazoned the article. This was very fun.
As indicated in the above high quality image, this problem was attributed to an API issue and it has been corrected. API is a programming acronym for Application Programming Interface. APIs are everywhere on the Internet. The technology is nothing new. This particular API is the connection between PixABay servers and BubbleWs servers. An API is tenuous because both side must adhere to the same contract. If either side changes the rules, bad things happen and sites experience painful problems. There's no way to know definitively where this API 'failed' but chances are that PixABay changed the game on their end without telling BubbleWs or BubbleWs didn't pay attention when the rules were changed. This is speculation on the author's part, based on decades of software development.
Sadly, the problem persisted for at least 2 days. Whomever was sleeping on that obvious problem has hopefully been reassigned to sales or grounds-keeping. Every article that was written to include a PixABay photo demonstrated the obvious problem: either BubbleWs developers were out to lunch or simply not paying attention.
Where do we go from here?
On Monday, ostensibly, the site will be back up. A new version of BubbleWs will grace the Internet, replete with stuff that works.
We shall see.