|Java menu knowledge base|
Helping us help you (2): how to describe a problem
Using the java console
All Netscape browsers, and Microsoft browsers with fairly recent
"VM's" have a "java console". This is normally buried in
different places in the browser menu system. With Microsoft browsers
you will have to do a one-time java console activation by searching
through the "internet options" for the appropriate line and then
restarting your browser.
The java console is
a little window that pops up and reports about what's happening
to any java running at the time. It keeps a log. The log is chronological,
so skip to the bottom. The last 3 or 4 lines may contain
a detailed report of what went wrong. When reporting an
error to us, you should enclose a copied-and-pasted quote
of the console contents in your email. No screenshots!
What frequency does the error have?
Please try repeating the error under all the following
circumstances and attach some kind of frequency indication to your report (e.g. often,
sometimes, mostly, 50%, randomly, fitfully):
What browser / OS systems does the error occur on?
- Under different browsers (try at least Netscape and Microsoft)
- On different computers (please try at least two if you possibly can)
- After clearing cache, deactivating proxies, switching off the computer, and restarting
- If online, after uploading again and checking binary/ascii settings
- At different locations (different directories, and both online and offline)
- On at least two different days (for some reason some errors
really do disappear completely after a night's sleep...)
Please provide the following information about all computers on which
the error occurred:
- The FULL browser version (you are viewing this page with
- The java interpreter manufacturer (e.g. Microsoft, Symantec, Sun, Apple)
- The java interpreter version - this is especially important with Sun java interpreters
- Your operating system (inc. version number)
- Your system characteristics (processor, speed, RAM)
- If your computer is networked, please describe the network briefly
- The location
characteristics (e.g. local file system / intranet / public web server)
Under what circumstances does the error occur?
Errors are normally conditional on a variety of circumstances. Answers here
might include: only when clicking a folder / scrollbar / link; for a brief
while after starting up; when reloading; when first loading but not after
reloading; when the mouse moves in / out of the applet area.
It is helpful if in your
report you give the sequence of events prior to the error (e.g. "applet
initialised normally, but when I did x, y happened").
Don't forget, of course, to mention whether the error happens online
or not, and whether (and where) we can view your implementation.
What effects does the error have?
Particularly in the case of a fatal disruption to operation, the
simple word "crash" should be avoided, as it is too vague. Was it a
"stall" (freeze) or did something actually shut itself down? What did this?
(e.g. did the applet stall? did the browser stall? did the browser close
itself down? did the entire OS freeze or close-down?) Which parts of
the computer continued to function normally?
The same points apply to the vague concept of "slow performance". Our
applets are normally extremely fast and smooth, but different kinds
of malconfiguration can lead to different kinds of performance errors.
We can only advise on this if we know exactly which operations were slow,
and under what circumstances.
The applet self-diagnosis should also be reported to us. That will
mean that you must remove the escapepage parameter.
If the graphics display is at fault, please describe (e.g. transparency
not working, speckles, discolouring, tiling failure). If some kind of
error report appears in the browser status bar (e.g. something about an
"exception"), please quote as much of the report as possible.