New in Yeller: Better Stacktraces

This is a blog about the development of Yeller, The Exception Tracker with Answers

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“Clojure stacktraces are too noisy”

“Rails stacktraces are hundreds of lines long”

Understanding and fixing production errors is hard enough, even when the stacktrace is small. Stacktraces in modern webapps often reach into the hundreds of lines though, which makes fixing errors much more difficult - you can’t see, at an initial glance, what lines of code were yours, which ones broke and so on.

Various testing tools, like rspec and midje have attempted to solve this, hiding “noisy” frames by default. This helps a lot, except when the stacktrace filtering hides frames that are important to debug (see this github issue, and this tweet).

Yeller has the advantage of being a GUI, not a terminal app that only writes (which is how rspec and midje both work). As such, it can get all of the advantages of backtrace filtering, with none of the disadvantages. Stacktraces by default get easier to read, but it’s simple to press a toggle and see the full trace. Here’s how it looks:

This is a big step forwards in making “noisy” stacktraces easier to understand at first glance - Yeller just shows the frames from your app, so you can see which part of your code the error came from. This is a useful default, but the toggle is the real deal - without it you’re just losing information.

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Yeller works with Clojure, Ruby, Rails, Java, JavaScript, Go, Haskell and Node.js