About a week ago, we had an odd issue reported. Users clicking links to a specific route in the app were being taken to the login page, regardless of whether they were already logged in or not. This didn’t happen if they copy-pasted the link, or opened the link directly from say, their chat client. This was very specifically happening with links in Office documents, like Word.

A colleague spent some time building up an environment to be able to reproduce this issue, and sure enough, there it was. He started diving in with Wireshark and all the cool tools, but couldn’t figure out what was going on. I mean, he could see what was happening, but the why was missing. So I get called in. Five minutes of googling later and I’ve fished up some relevant links. The TLDR is that Office does a pretty bad job of handling session cookies (i.e. it doesn’t), and has been handling it pretty badly for the past… decade or so.

Cartoon dog in a room on fire meme

I’m not actually here to put the boot into Microsoft. Maybe there’s a good reason for it1. The actual point is, do you default to searching for the answer or trying to solve it yourself? Personally, it depends on the context. Is this a learning exercise or do I just need to get something done? While I might get answers to things faster, maybe my compadre ends up with a deeper, better understanding of the problem. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong approach here, just differences.

What do you think? What’s your default problem solving approach?

  1. Probably not, but there you go. ↩︎