Compiler error messages: what can help novices?

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Compiler error messages: what can help novices?
Novices find it difficult to understand and use compiler error messages. It is useful to refine this observation and study the effect of different message styles on how well and quickly students identify errors in programs. For example, does an increased level of detail simplify the understanding of errors and their correction? We analyzed messages produced by a number of compilers for five programming languages, and grouped them into three style categories from their level of detail and presentation format, and correlated the level of experience and error type with performance and speed of response. The study involved two groups of students taking an introductory programming course at two different institutions; they used messages in these three styles to debug erroneous code. The results indicate that more detailed messages do not necessarily simplify the understanding of errors but that it matters more where information is placed and how it is structured. Categories and Subject Des...
Marie-Hélène Nienaltowski, Michela P
Added 15 Dec 2010
Updated 15 Dec 2010
Type Journal
Year 2008
Authors Marie-Hélène Nienaltowski, Michela Pedroni, Bertrand Meyer
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