They're not problems, they're tasks.

2003-11-10 17:50

So, in an old version of IBM’s VisualAge Java development environment, there was a thing called a “Problem List”. This was, as the name suggests, a list of problems. When you typed in code, the list would be updated to reflect problems with the code. So, when you fixed the problems, the list got shorter.

In the current product (WebSphere something-or-other), it’s now a “Task List”.

They’re not problems, they’re tasks.

I want to see the error messages produced.

“Maybe it’s just me, but I’m feeling a little uncomfortable with your punctuation on line 73.”

“Do you think we could talk about the syntax of import statements? The one on line 7 doesn’t have a class name or an asterisk, and I really feel validated when import statements are syntactically correct.”

“I feel the left bracket on line 237 lacks closure.”

Behind all this is a problem; the code a friend of mine has been working on is being submitted by a group to whom some development tasks are being outsourced, and it comes in with the Task List full of big red X’s, indicating code which can’t even be compiled, let alone tested. Maybe, if it were called a Problem List, they’d understand the issue; as is, he’s fixed code, sent it back, and had it come back with new problems introduced. They don’t appear to be clear on the issue.

Maybe the compiler is being a little too soft on them. I mean, sometimes you really do need “tough love”.

Peter Seebach

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