Re: htdig: ht:/dig on the net

Gilles Detillieux (
Fri, 8 Jan 1999 16:11:22 -0600 (CST)

According to Marjolein Katsma:
> At 13:06 1999-01-08 -0600, you wrote:
> >I guess the error message should be made a bit clearer, as you're not the
> >first person to be confused by it.
> Actually, I think the error screen should be configurable as a template,
> like all (?) the other HTML output. It's totally internal now.

Sounds good in principle, but here's the implementation issue: most of the
errors that reportError() in reports are configuration issues,
like an inability to read the config file, databases, or templates. In
many of these cases (esp. the config file case), it's unlikely to be able
to find any custom template for the error text, so it's almost always
going to fall back on the internal form anyway. Not really worth the
bother, I'd say.

Now if webmasters would bother to test their search forms now and then,
this wouldn't be an issue... ;-)

User errors, as opposed to configuration errors, are already customisable
via the nomatch.html and syntax.html files.

> Of course, there could be a default, and yes, the text for that default
> could be a bit clearer... ;-)

Yes, like perhaps saying: "This is not a bug in the ht://Dig code.
Please tell the bozo who set up the search form you just used to test
it out and fix it." Or maybe I'm just a tad too sarcastic this Friday

I guess the other possibility to consider is that novice webmasters who
are setting up and testing ht://Dig would get confused by the error, and
not know where to start looking, or what the configuration problem might
be. A few extra hooks in could help produce more meaningful
messages. E.g. if it can't open the config file, say why (include the
sys_errlist entry) and say how it got the config file name (e.g. from
the user/form or the builtin default). If the default is an empty string,
as this error suggested, explain how to configure it. Gee, with all this
talk, you'd think I should just do it, but I think I've fired off too many
patches already... Plus I'm more in a ranting mood than a coding mood...


Gilles R. Detillieux              E-mail: <>
Spinal Cord Research Centre       WWW:
Dept. Physiology, U. of Manitoba  Phone:  (204)789-3766
Winnipeg, MB  R3E 3J7  (Canada)   Fax:    (204)789-3930
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This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0b3 on Sun Jan 10 1999 - 16:36:30 PST