ifacethoughts

Is Forgiveness The Best Approach?

Jeff Atwood thinks that forgiveness is required for any wide-scale adoption like the Web. To be more precise, forgiveness in the way errors in technology are handled. It is necessary to forgive the errors rather than let the error take over the application.

Frankly, at the first instance, I do not like it. Forgiveness implies ignoring the errors, the errors that come out of not doing something right. And that not something right will keep haunting, will keep hindering further development. The part that I do agree with is to not let the error be all over the application. There should be a way to handle the error gracefully, and give better options to the user rather than show the error directly. The draconian handling with XHTML is one of the reasons I think it has been posed against the users’ interest.

I believe that is the most difficult option, development wise, and is not followed most of the times. Whether it is the exception handling, the error handling or handling the user errors. Software should have the ability to handle the unexpected and still keep working, not just what it is supposed to do. But I am not party to the idea that the errors should be completely ignored. Which is what happens with HTML tagsoup and JavaScript. They have to be brought to the attention, they have to be reported and taken care of. Also, it is important to know the errors from the perspective that not using some technology as intended can make its benefits unavailable. As Shelley Powers says a proper use of XHTML can help write better markup.

Ignoring can, at the most, help spread illiteracy or misconceptions. A better approach is graceful handling that can educate and still retain sanity of the application.

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Abhijit Nadgouda
iface Consulting
India
+91 9819820312
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This is the weblog of Abhijit Nadgouda where he writes down his thoughts on software development and related topics. You are invited to subscribe to the feed to stay updated or check out more subscription options. Or you can choose to browse by one of the topics.