What is the Q&A?
If you have yet to use Community Questions & Answers then it is where you go to find out answers to problems or create your own new question. This is what the Q&A is for;
- Find answers to problems you are working through
- Ask a question of your own that does not have an existing answer
- Help out the community by providing answers to those asking questions
Does your problem already have an answer?
Before you even consider writing your own question, check that it has not already been answered. Quite often the same questions keep coming up – time after time.
This is because the author of the question has not taken the time to look for someone else’s question that has already been asked many times before. This is a waste of time for all involved in the Q&A, including yourself. As there are often answers already available, you do not have to wait for someone to answer your specific question, you can move on to the next stage of your app.
So what makes a successful question?
This is very easy but so often ignored – information. In order to help you find an answer those who provide answers need as much useful information about the problem and your development environment as possible. Some examples;
A good question title
This should include a quick summary of the problem, so if it is; table related include the word ‘table’, if the problem only occurs on ‘Android’ mention that in the title.
Examples of bad titles; (all from the past 24 hours)
- titanium gps not working
- textField input
- XML Parser
- Can’t find variable Uint16Array
- Facebook Login
- Update Studio (or what..?)
The reason these titles are bad is because they are either too generic or they fail to include more relevant issues from the actual problem.
A good description
The description should include as much detail as is required to explain the problem to a stranger in as concise a way as possible.
If the problem is likely code related – then include some code that can be quickly pasted into a test app by those offering assistance. This way it is very easy for someone to test what you have and see what the problem might be. This should NOT be the entire app code. It is very common to find the code has an obvious typo or misunderstanding, so the provided snippet helps to identify that.
If the question relates to a module you are using then name the module and provide a link to where you obtained it. This way it can be downloaded and tested along with the code snippet.
If the problem relates to a third-party API, mention that and if possible provide an example snippet from a successful API call. If the problem only occurs once in a while or after a set of other steps are performed first then point those out.
Many questions are dependant on which operating system you are using, the Titanium SDK version number, what target devices you are building for and if you are using Classic or the Alloy framework. Here are some details almost every single question should include;
- Titanium SDK version
- Target platform (Android, iOS etc)
- Your operating system (OSX, Windows, Linux)
Each question should have at least three tags entered to help organise the question. Imagine your question is – “How do I create a custom row for my table for Android devices using Alloy?”, then here are some example tags that would be very suitable; ‘tableView’, ‘Android’ & ‘Alloy’. You do not need to have a tag for every word – just the big subject ones.
Something too many people miss when asking a question
The Ask a Question page from the Q&A provides many examples of how to ask a question and what information to provide. I am surprised so many questions lack these details as you have to scroll past all the useful information in order to ask your question.
The mark-down editor
When entering a question to be included in the Q&A you do so in the “mark-down” question editor – this has a toolbar above it that provides examples of how to add specific extras like code. Simply tap one of the buttons (for example code) and then see the example of how to add code to your question. Providing code that does not have the correct code syntax markers makes it very difficult to read as it does not respect line breaks and comments can be confusing, additionally the lack of colour coding makes it harder to read the actual code.
Preview is your friend
When writing a question, always make sure to use the preview option as you go, this will show you how your question will look to those who will later read it. If your code does not display correctly or you have no distinct paragraphs then you have made your question harder to read. This means it may not have as many people as it could have providing suitable answers.