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Old 07-20-2009, 04:23 PM
Sherry C's Avatar
Sherry C Sherry C is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Bad Axe, MI, USA (The Tip of the Thumb of Michigan)
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Default On Writing Helpful Bug Reports

Hi friends,

To help us all save time and be most efficient in reporting problems that may be bugs, I’d like to offer a few guidelines.

The Basic Bug Report

1. If a problem persistently comes up, and you can’t find an explanation in Help/User's Guide or here in the Users’ Forum, then it probably qualifies as a bug.

2. When you report the bug, please list as the subject of your thread a brief description of the problem, such as “Chord transcription fails and gives an error message.” It’s very helpful to know where the story is going

3. If at all possible, attach a copy of the file (.mid, .not, or .kar) you were working with just prior to the bug appearing.

4. Then describe as clearly as possible the steps you took to reproduce the bug. The clearer the explanation you give here, the easier it is for the developer to reproduce (or “repro”) the bug himself, and get it fixed.

For example, a basic bug report might read like this (this one is fictional):

-------------------------------------------------------------
Subject: Chord transcription fails and gives an error message.

1. Beginning with the file “DooWop.mid” (attached)

2. Open the file in Composer 2.5.2 (the version number)


3. Use Format/Transcribe chord names.


4. Set the Chord Style to “Jazz”.


5. Click “all staves (except drums)”


6. Click “OK”.


7. The chord names don’t show up, the screen freezes, and I see the error message “Internal program error: C00000005 address 56d32e” in the Status bar (the Status bar is in the lower left corner of the program.)

-------------------------------------------------------------

You will make the developer glow with joy. With most reports like this, Mark can swat the bug, and maybe name it after you



More advanced bug reporting – “The Minimalist Repro”

If you’d like to positively light up the developer, you can do a little more investigation and reduce the bug reproduction to just the basic essential steps. This will involve a bit more work on your part, and Mark certainly doesn’t expect this at all. But this is where he will want to kiss your feet

1. As above, if you’ve been able to consistently produce a problem that you can’t find an explanation, then it’s probably a bug, and we’d love to have a report about it.

2. The difference between this report and the one above is that you as the user will then get all the “clutter” out of the way, simplifying the circumstances of the bug until you can describe the bug with the least amount of extraneous details. For example, this “Cliff Notes” version of the bug report might reduce to just adding a few notes to a new score and doing one command.

3. When you’re pretty sure that you have just the essentials necessary to reproduce the bug (The Minimalist Repro), then you briefly state the basic problem that you’ve encountered.

4. Next, attach the “minimalist” file that you have before the bug shows up, or briefly describe what conditions are needed in any file. (e.g., “Insert an instrument sound change at the first beat of any measure”) to create the “repro” conditions.

5. Briefly describe the essential steps to reproduce the bug. Again, the clearer the explanation you give here, the easier it is for the developer to reproduce (or “repro”) the bug himself, and get it fixed.


For example, the “Minimalist Repro” of the above report might read like this (again, this one is fictional):

-----------------------------------------
Subject: Chord transcription fails with an unusual chord on the first beat of a measure

1. Start a new song. Add notes, on the first beat of any measure, for one chord in ascending order: C D G A-flat.

2. Use Format/Transcribe chord names.


3. The transcription fails, giving the error message “Internal program error: C00000005 address 56d32e”


-----------------------------------------

So there we have it. We really appreciate the time and energy that you put into letting us know about bugs, so we can spend more time on fixing them, and making the software better.

Thanks for listening!
Sherry
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