ID #1715

How to improve your technical skills for error handling and reporting?

Sometimes you need to communicate the error with others in order to get it solved. Since the verbal communication is often confusing, the screenshots and text are used. The following tips will help you to improve on finding and reporting the errors.


A picture is worth a thousand words refers to the idea that a complex idea can be conveyed with just a single still image. Yes, we are talking about screenshots.

  • Use picture(s) to represent your idea or flow.
  • Use tools such as ScreenHunter (free) or snagit (paid).
  • Size does matter: Small files take less time on email and web. Think of receiving a 4 mb screenshot.
  • Picture Format: .gif files usually take less size. So it's better that we stick to .gif format.
PICTURE is WORTH NOTHING for error screen:
  • The error needs to be searched for finding the solution.
  • You cannot search for solution using picture.
  • This is why you need the TEXT.
  • Use Ctrl + C on the message box and paste in notepad.
  • Use It’s an easy search for Online Manual andOnline FAQ.
Log file is your best friend:
  • People know how to LOOK at log file but fail to READ.
  • Use proper tools: Notepad will help you to LOOK but Notepad++ will help you READ.
  • You will SEE what you want to SEE.
  • Try to see things like frequency, repetition, when, how, etc.
  • Find out the distinct and unique errors. DO NOT OVERLOOK a small error in between an error repeating many times.
Look before you leap.
  • Check if someone has already reported the similar problem in FAQ.
  • For example, try searching in google: RanceLab FAQ SQL Server 2005 2008 connectivity troubleshooting.
Reporting: Save time for yourself and others.
  • Gist of Log: Do you want your colleague to spend the same time you already spent? Do you want yourself to READ that log again, in case you need to work on the same issues after 1 or 2 days?
  • Gist of Problem: Many times problem is “NOT KNOWING THE PROBLEM”.
  • Try to include the Step to reproduce the problem: LIFE is often defined as capability of reproduction. The solution is just a line of code away if you are able to reproduce the problem.

Tags: Tutorial

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