Pest Extermination Episode 1: Definitions related to website bugs

If you ever find yourself singing this song: “I found a bug, I found a bug, I found a bug HEY, HEY, HEY, HEY!” …. And you are not exactly sure what to do now that you have found a bug on your website, this blog post is for you.

Bugs on your website are Little Rascals all their own. But first, let's slow this down and clarify some things here. Are we talking bugs as in Coccinella magnifica? Or are we talking bugs as in, “This hotel room is bugged, so do not repeat that super spy message I told you last week?” Or are we talking elusive and monstrously scary code bugs nibbling at your website?

Yep, we are talking code bugs on your website. But what is a code bug really?

Here are some helpful definitions that describe what website bugs are, and what they are not:

  1. Software Bug: In the software world, a software bug is a problem that arises as a result in not enough code logic, or flawed code logic. The shortcoming in the code logic causes the program to provide an invalid output or crash altogether.
  2. Website Bug: Now in terms of your website, a bug is simply something that is not working right. There is code somewhere on your website that has not been written properly. If you can make your website exhibit a strange behavior the majority of the time, you have a bug. The good thing about bugs is that they are much less common when you have good Drupal developers who know the standards and know what they are doing. (See for a thorough kick start course for developers who want to learn Drupal.)
  3. Edge cases / Fringe Cases: These are bugs that show up on your website after you do about fifteen different steps, dance a jig, then a tango, and end with a back flip. These are the deeply buried website bugs that are triggered by a complex and specific series of steps. There is no way these edge cases could have been anticipated. Edge cases however, are where website user testing pays off. Your users will find the craziest things that you could not have foreseen when using your website. And this is normal! Congratulate yourself if you have a handful of edge cases being unearthed on your website.
  4. Narrow case: A narrow case is the most specific and unusual bugs that happen on a website. These are the bugs that only happen about one percent of the time. Even though this is such a small percentage, this is actually where most of the software development bug fixes happen. These narrow case bugs are complex but very normal. Usually narrow cases are no problem if you have good web developers.
  5. Fluke: A fluke is very much like a bug but the problem seems to go away on its own when your web developer starts to investigate. (Flukes very rare and usually they never show their ugly heads again anyway.)
  6. Error: An error is simply a big nasty message that is printed to the screen on your website. An error is just a notification message of a problem that occurred. 
  7. Cross Browser Testing: This is testing the behavior of your website in different browsers to find things that are broken. Cross browser testing is especially important for Internet Explorer as IE (especially the older versions) do not obey some of the conventional rules.
  8. Troubleshooting: This is when a developer tries to find and figure out bugs.
  9. Debugging: This is when the developer is actually figuring out and solving bugs.
  10. Bug fix: A bug fix is the code that was implemented to resolve the bug that was found on the website.
  11. Patch: A patch is a software update that can contain bug fixes, but usually contains broader focus improvements such as increased functionality, and/or multiple bug fixes. In Drupal, module patches are the most common type of patch.
  12. Tweak: Tweaks are generally subjective in nature. They are simply things that you want changed on your website. These are usually small changes that involve “tweaking” the existing function or behavior of your website slightly. The word “tweak” sometimes implies polishing. 
  13. Feature or enhancement: A really huge alteration. Features are big things that you want to change about your website. Building an entirely new functionality to enhance the abilities of your website is one example. After full features like this are first built, then they usually undergo a little bit of tweaking afterwards.

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