Quick Navigation Tips on an SDL Tridion Environment and Asking Smart Questions

While updating training materials and working with Electridion Training, I'll sometimes come across the need to patch or fix an environment issue. Here are some tips and tricks that have helped me recently:
Scenario: I couldn't update a profile picture with Chrome and though this might not be mission critical in a typical production environment, it's important to my new "how to update your profile picture" exercise.
Following the hot-fix instructions for Hotfix 2013.1.0.87586, I needed to update a file in the following folder:


Tip 1: %TRIDION_HOME% or any %ENVIRONMENT_VARIABLE% is recognized in Explorer, the Run command, and DOS commands.

Tip 2: Windows shortcuts come in handy. Most of these should be familiar.

Windows + E Windows Explorer
ALT + D Navigation Bar in many Browsers as well as Explorer
CTRL + C, V, ArrowsTypical copy, paste, and quick moves (use shift to quickly highlight)
ALT + Tab Cycle through Windows
CTRL + F / CTRL + H Find / Find & Replace
Windows Button + Start Typing If feeling lost without the Start Button, simply press the Windows Key and then type the name of the program you want

So for this hotfix after unzipping, you can:

  1. Double-click Readme.txt
  2. Open Explorer to the path
    • Highlight the path, excluding file
    • Windows + E
    • ALT + D
    • Remove extra slash and press Enter
  3. Rename or move old file
  4. Copy & Paste new File
    1. ALT + Tab (until back at Hotfix folder)
    2. CTRL + C
    3. ALT + TAB
    4. CTRL + V
Tip 3: Not all hotfixes apply.

SDL Tridion World's Hotfix pages feature an important note.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Hotfixes are released at the discretion of SDL Tridion based on technical complexity, customer business requirements and schedules. Hotfixes are made and tested only for the described problem on a particular environment/configuration and therefore should only be installed if approved by SDL Tridion Customer Support. Hotfixes should be replaced as soon as possible by the subsequent service pack where the problem is fixed.

This follows how Wikipedia views hotfixes:
A hotfix or Quick Fix Engineering update (QFE update) is a single, cumulative package that includes information (often in the form of one or more files) that is used to address a problem in a software product (i.e. a software bug).[1] Typically, hotfixes are made to address a specific customer situation.
This means:

  • Don't apply hotfixes indiscriminately for Tridion or any software
  • Do apply updgrades, service packs, and hotfix roll-ups
  • Some hotfixes only apply to very few (maybe even one) customer -- not all hotfixes are public (e.g. on SDL TridionWorld)

Finally Tip 4: Rely on Support. I was able to confirm with Brandon that "Uncaught Type Error: undefined is not a function" might be a good hint the above hotfix was appropriate for my issue.

Regardless if it's an email (as it was in my case), forum post, or question on Tridion Stack Exchange, always try to bring:

  • Version numbers and environment details
  • What you tried (and what you expected/why you expected it*), including code or steps
  • Any relevant issues including exact errors

*The "why you expected it" is a good tip Frank van Puffelen shared with me at the California Tridion 2012 user event.

Especially on community support channels, avoid bringing frustration and criticism with your question, at least not without a sense of humor. You may have very well found something broken or unexpected with some software or product, but antagonizing the people helping you won't get you very far with Tridion or any other online community. Even in the worse complaints we can treat other people with respect.

Read How to Ask Questions the Smart Way, which was a guiding approach on the old Tridion forum and lives on every time someone in the community asks you for clarification on a vague question.

Some shortcuts, the right hotfix, asking a hopefully smart question, and a tip from Brandon got me what I was hoping for:

More resources on shortcuts and Tridion Environments:

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