I’m not an economist but I’m a big believer in incentives. In this Err the Blog post on his Ruby on Rails toolbox, he has this to say about the excellent exception_notification plugin for Ruby on Rails:
E-mails us whenever an exception is raised on the site. Some days I just gather up the exceptions in my Inbox and bang away on those bugs for an hour or two. Then, no more e-mails. It’s very gratifying.
There are two reasons I love this plugin. The first is that those problems that you missed during testing are brought to your attention immediately. No more grepping log files, looking for problems you might have missed. When a user hits a land mine, there’s an email in your in box letting you know.
The second is that if your site is busy at all, you have a very powerful incentive to fix the bug ASAP. If the problem is catastrophic, suddenly you’re getting a whole lot of email that you have to delete, all saying the same thing. Is it painful? Of course. But it insures that fixing the bug is the most efficient course of action for even the laziest programmer. Being bombarded with pointless email is a powerful incentive to make the pain stop. I like that.
Anyone know of a similar tool for Java? There’s an email appender for log4j, but I’ve always found it to be kind of a pain to deal with.