Why can’t I call and talk to someone at Adobe developer support?

Our current pathway for providing developer support doesn’t include calling and discussing issues with an Adobe Support Engineer (See Submitting a Developer Support Question). Here’s our reasoning why this isn’t available – at least initially.

Programming a computer is an intricate task and requires careful attention to detail. Often, the cause of a problem is syntax, rather than algorithmic. A common problem is misused parameters, or neglecting to include a necessary library. The quickest way to examine something of this nature is to actually look at the code itself – which is why the initial point of contact for a support question is in writing, and requests code snippets and examples. Personally, I’ve never solved a code-level question without looking at the code – so why not start there?

A coherent question is often the solution. This might not be a popular opinion, but my experience is that requiring a programmer to write a description of what they are trying to do, and documenting what they have already done will often solve the problem. The process of stepping back and explaining a problem to another person often exposes faulty assumptions or actions. Look up George Pólya and his four-step process. The first step is to understand the problem.

Pólya’s four-step process:

  1. The first and most important step in solving a problem is to understand the problem, that is, identify exactly which quantity the problem is asking you to find or solve for (make sure you read the whole problem).
  2. Next you need to devise a plan, that is, identify which skills and techniques you have learned can be applied to solve the problem at hand.
  3. Carry out the plan.
  4. Look back: Does the answer you found seem reasonable? Also review the problem and method of solution so that you will be able to more easily recognize and solve a similar problem.

from Polya, G. How to Solve It. Princeton University Press: Princeton NJ. 1957.

Relationship building is different that technical support I like developers. I like to meet developers. Many of my friends are developers that I’ve worked with. Friendships and relationships require time, conversation, meetings. So phone calls are part of that relationship building. But that’s different than support. When developers send in questions, they need results. In a Hurry. If our support engineers are having pleasant chats, they can’t be focused on efficiently moving to the next question.

However… this isn’t to say that we don’t ever call developers. If we’re stuck in a loop, sometimes the quickest way out is to arrange for a phone call – and we’ll do that. But note that a phone call is not an initial support strategy, it’s a supplement.Your thoughts?

One Response to Why can’t I call and talk to someone at Adobe developer support?

  1. rck says:

    Actually, I prefer writing anyway. Did you have any contacts insisting on phoning you? Especially for programming, it comes down to code, doesn’t it. And talking about code… Hmmm.René C. Kiesler