There are some of us in industry trying hard ☺. I’m part of the Visual Studio 
UX team at Microsoft. We work on all parts of the developer experience, from 
the design of the programming languages and APIs that developers use through to 
the tools and editors that they use.

There is an interesting video posted a week or so ago with Anders Heijlsberg 
talking about how modern compiler design is significantly different to 
traditional compiler design, with those differences significantly motivated by 
the user experience that developers expect and demand from modern editors and 
tools:
https://channel9.msdn.com/Blogs/Seth-Juarez/Anders-Hejlsberg-on-Modern-Compiler-Construction

Anders touches on error messages briefly in the video but also talks a lot 
about the other experiences that developers expect such as autocomplete, syntax 
highlighting, inline errors (squigglies) etc. Over the years we have observed 
how these experiences help developers learn new APIs, language features etc.

Steven


From: ppig-discuss@googlegroups.com [mailto:ppig-discuss@googlegroups.com] On 
Behalf Of Michael Sloan
Sent: 19 May 2016 01:34
To: Raoul Duke <rao...@gmail.com>
Cc: PPIG Discuss <ppig-discuss@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: [ppig-discuss] Re: Beginner friendly error messages

Yup, this is a very astute observation.  The deeper you are in a compilation 
pipeline, the further you are away from the user's input.  If there isn't 
enough info relating the compilation back to the user's input, it is 
challenging to give helpful error messages.  This can also be a big problem for 
debugging / profiling.  If the compiler applies tons of optimizations to your 
code, it really scrambles up the mapping between input source and the outputted 
executable.  This can make it challenging to communicate with the user about 
which parts of their code are responsible for performance issues.

On Wed, May 18, 2016 at 5:28 PM, Raoul Duke 
<rao...@gmail.com<mailto:rao...@gmail.com>> wrote:
> I'm surprised this isn't a solved problem.
The true state of the UX of programming (from error messages to language syntax 
to tooling to ui to version control, to anything and everything) is a clear 
indictment of the entire enterprise. Well, at least when it comes to industry. 
For the large part. Some of it is due to the fact that 99.9% of all people in 
tech / on Earth have no clue about UX -- wouldn't know good UX if it gave them 
a backrub. Public schools and definitely higher ed should give out free signed 
copies of The Design of Everyday Things.
Speaking in broad terms (I don't know anything at all about the insides of 
Python), my guess is that one of the major reasons this isn't a solved problem 
is that it isn't just about editing the error message text in some stand-alone 
file. The way errors happen is such that a lot of the information you'd want to 
have available in order to construct a really good error message is simply not 
available at that point in time in the system where/when the error is detected. 
It is a long standing fundamental problem that people still tend to use lexx 
and yacc and lookalikes.
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