Stealing a Post - How to Ask Me a Question

Simon MacDonald is one of the core PhoneGap contributors. He's also a great all around guy and has been one of my "go-to" people when I need help. Today he posted a great blog entry that I've decided to completely steal. (I checked - he was cool with that.) You can read his original post here:

How to Ask Me a Question

I've made a few minor adjustments to his post below with notes where applicable.

How to Ask Me a Question

Hey all,

I love helping people out with their PhoneGap/Cordova (Ray: Add ColdFusion, jQuery, AJAX, HTML5, etc to that ;) issues but I do have a day job (Ray: Actually, this is part of my day job so it is less of an issue for me! :) and sometimes even a home life. It would really help me out if you would provide me with enough information in order to answer your question. In fact I hate to be an ass about this but I'm letting you all know that I'm not going to answer any questions that are along the lines of "it doesn't work". That just isn't helpful. I can't read your mind I don't know how you are using the code.

Here is my advice to you on how to speed up getting a good answer to your query:

SEARCH THE PHONEGAP MAILING LIST ARCHIVES

Your question may have already been answered. Make sure you search at least PhoneGap Google group archives before you ask your question. Go to the PhoneGap Google group and use the search field in the top right of the page. (Ray: Obviously, this applies in general to other technologies as well. Maybe a blog post is in order for finding ColdFusion, jQuery, etc resources?)

PROVIDE DETAILS

Give as many details as possible. Incomplete questions won't likely be answered.

Include the following at a minimum:

  • what version number of PhoneGap are you using?
  • which platform and version you are testing on? iOS 4.0, Android 2,2, BlackBerry 6.0, etc.
  • a detailed description of your problem.
  • is this happening in the emulator only, phone only or both?

(Ray: I think most folks can understand how the tips above would be modified for ColdFusion or other technologies.)

Select a concise, informative subject for the post. For example, include:

  • Platform, if issue is specific to Android, iOS, etc
  • Keyword examples: version, jar file, phonegap plugin, deviceready event, build
  • Short phrase summarizing the problem

You may also want to include:

  • some sample code that illustrates the problem.
  • logs taken while the problem was reproduced.

If the code or logs are huge, let's say over 20 lines please think about using a web service like Gist or Pastebin.com. Alternatively if you have a Dropbox account put the file in your public folder. Then share the link in the question rather than posting a ton of text.

AN EXAMPLE OF QUESTION

Wrong: PhoneGap does not work for me!

Right: I get a security error on PhoneGap 0.9.4 when I try to open a database using the Android 3.0 emulator. You can see the code I used here: https://gist.github.com/937307 and the logs I collected here: https://gist.github.com/937315. I have looked at the archives and the commits but did not find any solution. Does anyone know what could be the issue and whether this has been fixed?

Also, for detailed back and forth the blogger comments are not the best place so I encourage you to ask me questions over at my Formspring accountcontact form.

Thanks...

Simon (Ray: Thank you Simon, and thank you readers!)

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