www.delorie.com/gnu/docs/GNU/standards_15.html   search  
 
Buy GNU books!


GNU Coding Standards

[ < ] [ > ]   [ << ] [ Up ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ]

4.3 Formatting Error Messages

Error messages from compilers should look like this:

 
source-file-name:lineno: message

If you want to mention the column number, use this format:

 
source-file-name:lineno:column: message

Line numbers should start from 1 at the beginning of the file, and column numbers should start from 1 at the beginning of the line. (Both of these conventions are chosen for compatibility.) Calculate column numbers assuming that space and all ASCII printing characters have equal width, and assuming tab stops every 8 columns.

Error messages from other noninteractive programs should look like this:

 
program:source-file-name:lineno: message

when there is an appropriate source file, or like this:

 
program: message

when there is no relevant source file.

If you want to mention the column number, use this format:

 
program:source-file-name:lineno:column: message

In an interactive program (one that is reading commands from a terminal), it is better not to include the program name in an error message. The place to indicate which program is running is in the prompt or with the screen layout. (When the same program runs with input from a source other than a terminal, it is not interactive and would do best to print error messages using the noninteractive style.)

The string message should not begin with a capital letter when it follows a program name and/or file name. Also, it should not end with a period.

Error messages from interactive programs, and other messages such as usage messages, should start with a capital letter. But they should not end with a period.


  webmaster   donations   bookstore     delorie software   privacy  
  Copyright 2003   by The Free Software Foundation     Updated Jun 2003