Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Centralized Error Interface & Reporting

remembering every error everyone's had and sharing the fix
  [vote for,

In todays applications we display errors in message boxes, in log files or stderr (For non-programmers stderr is output specifically for errors).

The problem is, every program does this differently and the data is rarely collected optimally. This solution is to create a library with standard interface that developers can use to report an error. The library would be provided a series of error definitions and these are callable from within software. (Similar to exceptions but outside the language) The library would then put error into a standardized format, database or log file.

The library should provide some message boxes for common error conditions. These should be as helpful as possible for users and may even include network fetched data. Perhaps a collapsed message box and an expansion button which would show a help page or a post from the community who fixed it.

The idea is to take the power of only letting developers solving the problem by letting others hep too.

A operating system service or user space program can then collect all errors and then a) submit them to a central server so that errors can be solved by a community b) send them to back to the software's defined developer infrastructure, using some kind of error protocol which could even submit to a bug tracker server side.

My theory is that statistical methods could be used to determine if a system setting, hardware or other running program is causing the error or conflict.

This idea describes a library but supporting programs could be made. The 'Problem solver' could be similar to Microsoft's Problems interface which is incomplete, it could provide solutions *when* an error occurs. For example, a) cannot find file or program, other users found it here or obtained it here b) file locked or access denied, display access permissions or what program has locked file c) you did sequence of UI actions (menu->action->action) and caused crash 0xFFFF whatever, the community would then mark this as a 'bug' and you'd be told that.

Improfane, May 22 2009

Microsoft's Fix It Solution, automated fixer http://support.micr...om/gp/cp_fixit_main
Automated problem solving example [Improfane, May 22 2009]

Vista Problem Reports and Solutions Center http://www.winvistaclub.com/f28.html
Vista can report errors to Microsoft and then publish solutions to them, unfortunately it is not at the code level [Improfane, May 22 2009]


       Ouch, I had no idea that third parties could access those memory dumps. Shame they need to pay for a certificate though.
Improfane, May 22 2009

       M$ has thoughtfully provided NNTP services for their various products, to share the misery and get workarounds for common problems... also available through an intensely bad web interface.
FlyingToaster, May 23 2009


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