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Error message conventions

From: Erik Huelsmann <e.huelsmann_at_gmx.net>
Date: 2003-11-23 13:14:03 CET

I have tried to describe the changes I made to the error messages I have
done for issue 897 so far. The patch below is an addition for the HACKING file,
but that is beside the point for now. It is not a patch submission yet.
Rather I would like to discuss if you agree with what it says. I'm interested in
additions, but also incorrectness or just disagreement.

The patch below tries to describe the conventions I try to adhere to when
changing error messages for issue 897; it can also be found at

Here is the not-a-patch-submission-yet:
--- HACKING (revision 7765)
+++ HACKING (working copy)
@@ -19,6 +19,7 @@
    * Secure coding guidelines
    * Document everything
    * Using page breaks
+ * Error message conventions
    * Other conventions
    * APR pool usage conventions
    * APR status codes
@@ -371,6 +372,44 @@
+Error message conventions
+For error messages the following conventions apply:
+ * Provide specific error messages only when there is information
+ to add to the general error message found in
+ subversion/include/svn_error_codes.h
+ * Messages start with a capital letter.
+ * Keep messages below 70 characters.
+ * Don't end the error message with a '.'.
+ * Don't include newline characters in error messages.
+ * Quoting information is done using single quotes ('some info').
+ * Don't include the name of the function where the error occurs
+ in the error message. If subversion is compiled using the
+ '--enable-maintainer-mode' configure-flag, if will provide this
+ information by itself.
+ * When including path or filenames in the error string, be sure
+ to quote them. (i.e. "Can't find '/path/to/repos/userfile'")
+ * If you want to add an explanation to the error, report the error,
+ followed by a colon and the explanation like this:
+ "Invalid " SVN_PROP_EXTERNALS " property on '%s': "
+ "target involves '.' or '..'"
+ * Suggestions or other additions can be added after a semi-colon,
+ like this:
+ "Can't write to '%s': object of same name already exists; remove "
+ "before retrying"
 Other conventions

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Received on Sun Nov 23 13:14:45 2003

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