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Re: filenames in error messages

From: Micah Cowan
Subject: Re: filenames in error messages
Date: Fri, 15 Feb 2008 12:26:17 -0800
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Bruno Haible wrote:
> When a user is getting an error message from 'msgfmt', and the user is a
> translator who has never written any code in any programming language,
> why should the error message she shall see be influenced by the syntax
> of programming languages?

Why shouldn't it be? It shouldn't be influenced by programming
languages, just to be influenced by programming languages, obviously:
but when a quoting mechanism popularized by various programming
languages happens to make _sense_, why not?

> When a user is burning a CD from a description of its TOC stored in a file,
> and this TOC file has a syntax error, why should the error message use
> double-quotes and backslash as syntax characters?

Because we need to use _something_ for syntax characters, and '\"' is
far more understandable than '%22'. Or do you really think that people
should have to pick up their ASCII and/or Unicode tables to understand
an error message?

> There are maybe 10 million users of our system and our programs. 9.5 millions
> at least know URLs, and maybe 1 million knows what %20 means.

Maybe 1 million know what %20 means (I personally think that may be
generous). Maybe 9.5 millions know what URLs mean. How many will know
what %22, %25, etc means? I'm guessing not many at all.

> How many out
> of the 10 million are C programmers?

That's an irrelevant question. The relevant question is, How many people
know what \" means? My expectation is, virtually 100%. Certainly a lot
more than the 10% you hypothesize as knowing what %20 means (let alone
the other characters).

- --
Micah J. Cowan
Programmer, musician, typesetting enthusiast, gamer...
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Comment: Using GnuPG with Mozilla - http://enigmail.mozdev.org


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