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[ossig] Error codes or Exceptions? Why is Reliable Software so Hard?

Good read on handling errors:



"Error codes or exceptions? Like static vs. dynamic programming
languages or how great David Hasselhoff is (most people say great, I say
super-great), it tends to turn into a pointless argument ("Hasselhoff is
super-great ASSHOLE!").

Very little software really gets error handling right. Even many
critical, backend server systems tend to break under heavy loads. And
the vast majority of end-user applications handle errors gracefully only
for the most well understood, commonly encountered conditions (e.g. HTTP
timeout), but very poorly for most other conditions (failed allocations,
bad data, I/O errors, missing files, etc). 

When these sorts of errors occur, bad things happen. Bad bad things.
Like when my web browser crashes, taking one half-composed email and 8
open web pages with it. Why did a single flaw cause so much damage? I
use Firefox and it's pretty reliable compared to most applications. It's
engineered impressively, with logical program layers well separated and
a great deal of the application logic is written in JavaScript, a
high-level "safe" programming language. But occasionally it still just
crashes or locks up."


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