Tuesday, 22 February 2011

First get your errors right

Nobody wants to be in an erroneous situation.. I think if you ask 10 people 9 would say "No" to get into an error state at all. But believe me working in the IT industry for so long the reality realm of errors are that they are not very user friendly... Errors are just errors and the programmers argue that showing error stacks just help them debug the error more effectively [whatever happened to debug techniques]. Over last few months working on so many products and platforms I have learnt that the quality of your development is not really in how less bugs they have in the system [I dont deny the fact completely] but on how they handle those erroneous state.

"Your document is locked" is certainly a message but "Your document is locked by X user, Click here to message him to unlock or request a permission change or contact XXXX in case of issue" is much much better.

I believe that the errors that the end user see's demonstrate the quality of your product.. so a Fail Whale is always a better option than an "Unexpected Error" but if the fail whale really gives an information on what to do... would be worth.

An error like this does not help at all....

But a error message like this, can do the trick

So Dev? How do you show your quality of work? Just writing good is not enough... write better error messages.