Mittwoch, 15. Juli 2009

Lowering Open Source Contribution Barriers

Chris Aniszczyk recently talked in his blog about how the barriers for contributors could be lowered. One of his topics was "how about us making it easier for users to file bugs?"
He then talked about a feedback agent included in Eclipse.

I think that's quite a good idea. Especially when an unhandled exception appears somewhere inside Eclipse, it would be great to have a new GUI dialog to add this exception to a new bug message.

What I have in mind is that each time a severe exception happens, then it can either be added to the Eclipse log or (maybe as an extension of the logging mechanism) is displayed in an error window to the user (the developer can decide that during design-time). The user can see a user-friendly message (Please *not* the exception message itself!) and can then decide to click on a button whether to report this bug (similarly as Microsoft Windows offers his users to do so, but I don't know anybody who ever klicked on "Report this bug to Microsoft").

If the user agrees and clicks on this button, then another window shows up that allows the user to specify what exactly he had done before. The window automatically suggests the top-level-project, project and component where this bug should be added to and fills in all the platform details and adds the stacktrace of the exception. Maybe with an integration of Mylin also the context of work could be added automatically.

That would probably make it easier for users to give us feedback about bugs, but it would also make it easier for the contributors of a project to find out whether two bugs are similar (since the stacktrace is automatically added to the bug message, too, and can easily be compared).

Maybe that would be another feature that could be added to e4?

1 Kommentar:

AlBlue hat gesagt…

You can do some of this with Mylyn installed. In the error log, right click on an exception and you can report as a bug.

The problem with this is that it is manual (not automatic) and that there's no anonymous reporting of bugs. Having to sign in or create an account is detrimental to adoption.

Lastly, these things tend not to get fixed for a long, long time. You certainly don't want to see the nag screen firing up each time it happens.

I've written about including issue URLs in the bundle to help automate bug filing before, but to no great success.