RE: Include error messages? (Was Re: Fw: Why do we put so many warnings in our manuals?)

Subject: RE: Include error messages? (Was Re: Fw: Why do we put so many warnings in our manuals?)
From: "Ed Manley" <edmanley -at- bellsouth -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 30 Jul 2002 16:43:30 -0700


I do believe in concise, consistent, plain English error messages, and a
reference for them as well.
I saw an article about six months or so ago about self-documenting VB code -
I think they were holding the error messages in a table where they could be
accessed and modified, and inserted references to these messages into the
source code itself - they could then "read" the source code to identify
where each message was triggered...or something along these lines.
Try searching the Software Development Magazine website for
"self-documenting code" and you may find it.

Regardless of how you do it, do it! Meaningless error messages with no way
to interpret them are a blight upon software!

I would suggest that individual screen shots would be huge, unusable,
unwieldy, impossible to maintain, as well as useless - so keeping a table
makes much more sense. Talk to your DBA - you are most likely doing
something along these lines now, as few modern coders would hard-code error
messages (everybody used to, before relational databases, but anyone doing
it now should be.....sued?

Have fun
Ed



>>Speaking of which, what's the consensus on this: a product manager wants
me to
include a list of screenshots of all the possible error messages a user
might
encounter using our software with a short (2-3 sentence) description of what
it
means because the product has no Help (yes, i know!) included with this
first
release. And she wants it done in a text file that will be included on the
CD!
I'm fairly new at this but my gut tells me there's got to be a better way.
Have
any of you encountered this? How did you handle it?

Thanks,
Rhina




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References:
Include error messages? (Was Re: Fw: Why do we put so many warnings in our manuals?): From: rbilbao

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