While reading Nick Harris’s post about troubleshooting, it occurred to me that FeedDemon could be a lot friendlier when an error occurs.  Right now when something goes wrong, FeedDemon catches the error and displays detailed information about the problem – but most of that information is useful only to our support team, and there’s no built-in way to send it to us.  Even worse, when this information does reach our support team, we usually have to ask for additional information (such as the version of Internet Explorer being used).

So I decided to fix this.

Starting with the next version, instead of displaying a dialog stuffed with cryptic details, FeedDemon will display one like this:

If you choose to send the error report to us, it will include a single compressed attachment containing details about the error and your Windows environment, a screenshot of your desktop (optional), and a copy of your subscriptions (also optional).

The next step is to figure out how FeedDemon can help customers resolve certain problems.  For example, we frequently see errors caused by buggy or outdated Internet Explorer add-ons, so it would be helpful to both us and our customers if FeedDemon could figure out when an IE add-on is mucking things up, and then explain how to disable it.

PS: The dialog shown above is my own creation, but I rely on the excellent EurekaLog to gather information about the exception.

7 thoughts on “Troubleshooting

  1. “instead of displaying a dialog stuffed with cryptic details”
    I’m thinking that the particular error displayed on the dialog makes that statement ironic? :)
    Why couldn’t you have implemented that while I was there? I may have stuck around if you had. ;)

  2. Nice. And in addition to Jacks comment about the error: Maybe hide the actual error details behind a button (Windows Error Reporting style).

  3. Jack, somehow I knew you’d be the first to comment on this :) You’re right about the error string still being cryptic – I just got rid of it and updated the screenshot.

  4. I wonder how many people are going to think it’s the windows error dialog (there are some similarities) and just click “don’t send” out of habit ;)

  5. How about transparently hiding javascript or rendering errors? Maybe just a little status bar icon, or toast or something.
    Here’s my problem: Some feeds I read are partial feeds, and when I click to the site 5-10 FeedDemon exceptions pop up, one after another, because of javascript errors. This gets rather annoying as each is a modal dialog I have to click through to get to the page. Everything works fine after I cancel the errors, so it’s not a fatal error — it would seem you could just trap these and get them out of the user’s way.

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