Tuesday, September 25, 2018 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Compiler User Interfaces

Greg Titus (via Doug Gregor):

The force unwrap fixit still exists, but it is now never the only or preferred fixit offered, and hopefully the explanations of the errors are a lot more beginner-friendly now.

Shriram Krishnamurthi:

Error messages come from languages, but errors are made in programs. By definition, there’s a big semantic gulf between the language and program. Fixes have to be at the level of the program. How can the language make “obvious” the program’s problem?

This also assumes that there is “the” problem. Many times an error is the result if an inconsistency (trivial example: f takes two args and is given three; not clear whether caller or callee is to blame).

[…]

Errors live in a very complex ecosystem. As a programmer, course I’d love what the slide asks for. [“An error should make it obvious how to fix the problem.”] As a researcher and language designer and curriculum author, I’d be terrified of anything that makes such claims. Even as someone who’s spend 8 hard years now on better msgs.

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