Sunday, March 22, 2009

Facilitating web page error reporting

Are there currently any products for facilitating reporting errors in web pages?

Problem description

A end user is browsing through your site, and stumbles upon a page which for him has an error or bug. It might be a mother-of-all-stacktraces shining at him, a number which is wrong or single space missing. Often, the end user is the only one who can see the problem, and it is difficult and timeconsuming to report through email or on the phone.
Preferrably, the user can send a screen shot. But it is a difficult process to explain, several manual steps involved, and the state of the application cannot be captured by a screen shot.

Possible solution

A "report bug" link which can easily be placed on every page, that when pressed, creates a report containing
* The offending web page as html
* A dump of all relevant state for the page
* A field where the user can type in what's wrong
* A crude marking device to easily tell where the error is located
The report can then be emailed and fed to an issue reporting system.

Relevant technologies

A javascript library or reusable SiteMesh decorator or similar. Preferrably as little intrusive as possible.

Does this already exist?

Please tell me if it does! :)


  1. We did this on, very simply, by using the error page functionality in JSP. So any exception is mapped to an error page. Some, like OOM and NoSuchObjectException, give messages explaining the error to the user and giving some advice. The rest produce a "would you like to report this error?" page with a form that users can fill in. This automatically includes stack trace, server name, etc etc.

    Unfortunately, it got picked up by robots at some point, and had to be extended with anti-spam protection.

    Other than that it's worked very well for us.

  2. I just read this blog post after reviewing the app gallery on the google apps page. You may be interested in this:


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