Browse Prior Art Database

Providing Multiple Messages for a Single Error Condition

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000107772D
Original Publication Date: 1992-Mar-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-22
Document File: 4 page(s) / 133K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Abraham, RL: AUTHOR [+6]

Abstract

This article discusses a mechanism for allowing computer users to access a sequence of messages describing a single error condition. The messages are presented one at a time, starting with a message which is oriented for use by a non-technical user and progressing through a series of increasingly technical messages. This allows the non-technical user to understand the error generated by the computer program while still providing several layers of debugging information for the more technical user.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 51% of the total text.

Providing Multiple Messages for a Single Error Condition

       This article discusses a mechanism for allowing computer
users to access a sequence of messages describing a single error
condition.  The messages are presented one at a time, starting with a
message which is oriented for use by a non-technical user and
progressing through a series of increasingly technical messages.
This allows the non-technical user to understand the error generated
by the computer program while still providing several layers of
debugging information for the more technical user.

      Computer users of limited computer knowledge and experience are
quite capable of performing operations resulting in error conditions
which require a more experienced computer user, an application
programmer or even a systems programmer to remedy.  When an error
condition occurs in a typical computer application, the user is
presented with a single message (with a message number) which gives
information about the error condition. Depending on the nature of the
error and the skill of the user, this single message may adequately
communicate the remedy of the problem.  However, in many instances a
more complete, specific explanation not meaningful to the average
user may be required to allow the error to be resolved.  The error
may require manipulation of components of the computer system with
which the non- technical user would not be familiar.  In these cases,
this user would describe the error condition (and the number) to a
more experienced user or programmer.  The more technically oriented
person would search a reference manual for a more complete
description of the error condition corresponding to the number.  He
then would try to relate the reference information to his
understanding of the state of the user's computer application at the
time of the error.

      Since our mechanism presents to the user a sequence  of
messages for the error condition, the user can navigate to the
message which is most meaningful given his level of technical
ability.  With each successive message, the information displayed
moves from information appropriate for a non-technical user to
information appropriate only for a more technical user or programmer.
The user is free to stop looking at the sequence of messages when the
message presented is one he can not readily understand...