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error mesage convention [was: Re: st: Importing data with infile: Identifying records with problems]


From   Maarten buis <maartenbuis@yahoo.co.uk>
To   statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
Subject   error mesage convention [was: Re: st: Importing data with infile: Identifying records with problems]
Date   Wed, 2 Sep 2009 21:42:23 +0000 (GMT)

--- On Wed, 2/9/09, Sergiy Radyakin wrote:
> When it comes to errors in .ado programs, it only tells
> you the error code, but not the line number.
> 
> At least basic error reporting in relation to the source
> code is highly desirable and would make debugging .ado
> files a much more pleasant task, ultimately improving the
> quality of the code. See, how it was done in TurboPascal
> in the 1980s

I think that we can safely assume that the people who made
this decision where very well aware of this type of error
message and thought very carefully about it. 

One reason that I would find convincing is that in the day
to day use of Stata the fast majority of error messages is
probably not generated by errors in programs, but by wrong
inputs by the users. Moreover, the vast majority of users
are not, and should not be, programmers, and often are 
intimidated by technical looking error messages. The way
the error messages look now, are often very informative 
for those users.

This means that the price that we programmers have to pay
for the comfort of the vast majority of users is that we
have to learn how to effectively use other debugging 
tools like -set traced #- and -set trace on-. I think that
that is a price well worth paying.

-- Maarten

--------------------------
Maarten L. Buis
Institut fuer Soziologie
Universitaet Tuebingen
Wilhelmstrasse 36
72074 Tuebingen
Germany

http://www.maartenbuis.nl
--------------------------


      

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