Error Messages Are Evil

Bob Sneidar bobsneidar at iotecdigital.com
Mon May 12 07:19:03 CEST 2014


I also meant to say that to imagine one could predict every kind of erroneous user input or machine fault and program around it is easy, but it’s just our imagination. In reality, it is a great deal more difficult to do. I remember articles written when Hypercard was rolled out, about how much work it took in a commercial product to program around the possible user input errors. Some were saying that a full 2/3 to 3/4 of code in a commercial product was dedicated to error detection. My own experience bears this out. How often do we encounter a dialog that reports an “unknown error”?

Perhaps I should revise my estimate of this article, referring to it as “tripe”. Perhaps that was too harsh. It’s probably just a product of the author’s imagination. How nice it would be if we could write software that never generated an error dialog? And have bacon that cooks itself, and dishes that never got dirty, and clothes that put themselves on our bodies when we called for them? Well, that WOULD be nice indeed!

Bob S


On May 11, 2014, at 10:48 , Bob Sneidar <bobsneidar at iotecdigital.com<mailto:bobsneidar at iotecdigital.com>> wrote:

Call me a naysayer, but I think the premise is nonsense.



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