Saturday, January 24, 2009

Total Rant: On good error-handling in shipped code.

Could someone, somewhere, PUHLEASE make it easy on me when I hit a bug, for heaven's sake?

Is it my responsibility, as a user, to Google the error code, sleuth through overburdened help & FAQ forums, post a question, wait for an answer, and otherwise spend minutes or hours of my precious and scarce time on a problem that's not mine to fix?

Ravelry has it right. When there's a problem, a friendly little page appears containing Bob, the official Rav mascot, that says (paraphrased, as I can't find an error right now to quote it):

Doh! We've been notified, and we'll fix this as fast as we can. Thanks!

Casey (the well-loved code monkey behind the wonder that is Ravelry) is automatically emailed each and every time there's a problem. Knowing something of Casey's coding practices and design ethics, I rest assured that those automatic emails contain all of the info necessary for him to fix the problem.

I'm so terribly tired of bug handling being left to the end user. It's time for the code guys (I'm talking to you, Blogger) to take responsibility and automate the process so the rest of us aren't left without what we need from the service/product, and a burden to go figure it out ourselves.