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Like this article? We recommend Mistake 7: Misunderstood Errors

Mistake 7: Misunderstood Errors

Hiroshi was a support person for a medium-sized manufacturer. He often joked that he gave users his best guess. Unfortunately, it was only partially a joke, because the application didn't provide much information about what was wrong with it. The developers used a general exception to provide information on every error. Consequently, every error looked the same, frustrating anyone who tried to figure out what was wrong.

Hiroshi planned to find a new job as soon as possible, because trying to work with the custom applications at this company was just too frustrating.

The lesson here: The development team should provide specific error information whenever possible. Instead of simply reporting that the file couldn't be written, the application should specify that the hard drive is full or that the user lacks proper permissions. The information should be precise. Which file is having problems? Which user is experiencing the difficulty? (Sometimes applications use aliases.) What's the complete error information?

Precise error information actually helps the developer, too. The more information developers provide to the support personnel, the less often support needs to call to ask questions.

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