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From Adam Kocoloski <>
Subject Re: Documented API does not work.
Date Thu, 27 Dec 2012 05:14:04 GMT
On Dec 26, 2012, at 11:02 PM, Jens Alfke <> wrote:

> Agreed. This seems to me to be an endemic problem of Erlang programs — the pattern-matching
behavior in the language is extremely convenient but results in software that handles any
sort of incorrect input with a generic exception like “badmatch”. Which might be okay
if the software took care to catch all of those exceptions and map them into either app-specific
exceptions or some kind of error codes; but none of the Erlang code I’ve seen (mostly just
CouchDB) ever does that. One of the few pieces of Erlang code I wrote did carefully try to
catch such generic exceptions, but I was told by the reviewer that it was “not idiomatic”.
> Someone should totally fix this particular bug. But in my experience there are dozens
of other similar ones in the CouchDB code. Coding in Erlang seems to breed these bugs, the
same way that coding in C breeds memory smashers.
> Yes, I am a little bitter about this. CouchDB has the most absurdly verbose-but-incomprehensible
log messages. I have spent/wasted many hours trying to make sense of them.

It'd be great to devote some concerted effort next year to ensuring that all manner of bad
input results in a 4xx code and a sensible response body instead of a 5xx and a completely
raw stack trace.  I think we'd stumble upon an "idiomatic" solution in the end.

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