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Fri September 10, 11:00 AM–11:30 AM • Back to program
Start time 11:00
End time 11:30
Countdown link Open timer

When beginners encounter tracebacks, they are often intimidated and do not know what to do with the information, which may tempt them to give up. In this talk, I will demonstrate a tool that can help them (and you) get all the information necessary to find the exact cause of an exception as well as some possible hints leading you to a solution.

Python tracebacks contain extremely useful information to debug programs but do not present this information in a way that is easily understandable by beginners. [1]

What if there was a way to automatically extract more information about the cause of a traceback, and transform it so that it can be shown in a more user-friendly way to beginners? Furthermore, what if it could show additional information that could also be of use to more advanced programmers?

In this talk, I will use such a tool to demonstrate through various examples how one can improve upon the traditional Python tracebacks, both for runtime and syntax errors. These examples will be shown in various programming environments, each having its own peculiarities: from interpreters run in a terminal or in a web browser (for example: Jupyter notebooks) to program run within editors such as IDLE and Mu. Additionally, I will demonstrate how the information provided can be made available in languages other than English.

And, given the intended audience, I will definitely include at least one example dealing with a flipfloperator. :-)

[1] More informative tracebacks can help advanced users as well: a recent case study revealed that developers at Google found some error messages to be “confusingly worded,” they spent a median of 12 minutes resolving each one, and such errors are common – affecting nearly 30% of all builds [Hyunmin Seo et al, Programmers’ Build Errors: A Case Study (at Google)]

André Roberge He/him

I first learn programming by taking a course in Fortran when I was a teenager, but never had much use for it. In 2004, while in my 40's, I decided to pick up programming as a hobby and creative outlet to distract me from my daily job. Since then, I mostly focused on creating programs and programming environments intended to help beginners learn my favourite hobby. These include RUR-PLE, Reeborg's World, AvantPy, and a few others, the latest being friendly.