I had encountered curious issue this week with colleague being completely unable to login into his Gmail account. He was able to login in and out of his Google account just fine and use rest of the services, but Gmail was just dying in the middle of initial redirects when loading.
Troubleshooting web app is hardly same thing as troubleshooting desktop software, but luckily there are many less typical steps.
Things to check
- the first thing to check when web app fails is naturally your Internet connection. Note that browsers can sometimes put themselves into offline mode and pretend everything is fine (Firefox is especially guilty of such obscure behavior);
- check if web app itself is down, as unusual as it sounds – it really can be. In case of Google services this can be easily checked at Apps Status Dashboard.
Things to reset
If connection and site are both fine then it is time for a browser cleanup.
- Clean out your browser cache.
- Clean out cookies. Depending on your browser you might need to reset all of them or selectively search for and delete those that are relevant to specific site you have issue with.
For my colleague it took all three steps to get rid of the issue and get Gmail loading.
Curiously dynamic web apps start to semi-rely on browser features and this trend might only increase with wider adoption of HTML5 web storage. Browsers are rapidly becoming less of dumb window and more of an intelligent platform for web application.