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Error reports for non-fatal errors?

I'm putting in automatic error reporting in my desktop consumer app (you may have noticed a few questions in the Ask Joel forum).  I have all the code now that displays the dialog and pings FogBUGZ and I'm not putting the calls in various places in my code.

What I'm curious about is those places where the code gets to a point that it shouldn't, but it's not something fatal.  By that I mean that I can work around these errors so that the end user may never notice them, although some functionality may not be quite right.  I'd like to know if these sorts of problems are happening in the field, but I'm not sure I want to alarm the user with an error dialog if the app can handle the situation by itself.

Anyone else deal with these questions in the past?

David (
Saturday, May 8, 2004

Damn my fingers.

replace "not" with "now" in that first paragraph.

David (
Saturday, May 8, 2004


Saturday, May 8, 2004

Log them and only send the log when/if a more serious error occurs, and only send the bundle of them if the user gives permission.

Key is you don't want to be making net connections unless the user initiates, gives permission, and completely understands what is being sent. They should be allowed to refuse to send bug reports.

If the program crashes, it is very reasonable to ask if they wish to choose to send a bug report of the program's bug history to assist in improving the program.

But if there is a silent recoverable error, you don't want to call attention to it because that is just bothersome.

So this solution allows you to dela with it from a best practices as far as the customer in concerned level.

Dennis Atkins
Saturday, May 8, 2004

Why not make the user aware of the auto-reporting capability, ask them nicely to accept it and provide an option for them to be able to see the log of what was sent and when... should they really want to know..?

Chances are they won't, but I'd like the option to see it anyway... especially to get an idea of the scale of stuff it's sending from my machine.

Sunday, May 9, 2004

Guess I wasn't too clear in my description.  Yes, I prompt the user to tell them that an error occurred.  I ask nicely if they'll send me the report.  They can see the data if they'd like.

The question was really about how frequently to show said dialog.

What I decided to do is go ahead and put the dialog in all the places where the code should never reach.  During Beta testing, I'll keep a close eye on the reports.  If some reports are coming in frequently, but they are unnecessary, I'll take them out before Release.

David (
Monday, May 10, 2004

mywarn: function to tell me something that I never thought could happened did happen but it's not a fatal error, or to tell me that an error I do handle happened so I can see if there is a pattern and change my UI to avoid getting that in the future. 

must remain anonymous
Monday, May 10, 2004

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