Online / 5 & 6 February 2022


The design of developer-facing error messages for software libraries

Programmers pay a lot of attention to the design and usability of the error messages end users will see. And, at the other extreme, (many) compiler writers put a lot of thought into carefully crafting error messages that will be displayed in response to compilation errors.

But there's a category of error messages between these two extremes that hasn't received nearly as much attention: errors that are supplied to programmers using a library or other API when they misuse the API or provide invalid inputs. This talk explores how principles of human-computer interaction, user experience, and interaction design apply to this neglected middle category and discusses how programming languages and the tools that support them can encourage library authors to provide a better UX for this sort of error message.


Photo of Daniel Sockwell Daniel Sockwell