Common errors

My personal TOP10 of software development errors, ordered by how often these errors occur or how much time I have to spend to fix such a problem on average. Maybe I’ll be able to avoid some of these in the future. The evil thing is: I know how to fix these errors and even how to avoid them but still they keep costing me time and lots of it.

10. Making something static that should not or other way round: Don’t try this at home
9. Missing dependencies Jumpin’ Javac
8. XML parser errors: wrong format of xml file (hard to find if the XML is just an unexpected format)
7. “Method not found”-Exception Changed an interface -> doesn’t simply recompile
6. SQL Exceptions: Database user has no select rights or wrong password
5. AxisErrors and SoapExceptions: WSDL Errors?, Axis Deployment, Axis Deployment Part II, Axis of Evil Rant Part III
4. Using wrong version of jar-file (weird programm behavior mostly old bugs recurring, ‘ant clean’ helps)
3. Forgot to adapt properties (Nullpointer and other exceptions occur alternatively same behaviour
2. String manipulation errors (unexpected input or length of string causes weird results)

Surely this is a common favorite everywhere:

1. Nullpointers or ArrayIndexOutOfBounds Exception (forgot to test for unexpected user behaviour) Not my day

The most common is the basic Nullpointer which is easy to fix half the time and might still take an hour or two in the worst case. String manipulation can also be hard to find because it is most often something really unexpected that happens. The one that takes longest to fix on average is anything to do with Apache Axis (I’ll refrain from another hate rant here).

Of course this is not based on any statistics it’s just a list of stupid things that keep happening. Maybe I will update this list again in the future with more interesting errors.

By Yashima

Writer of code and stories


  1. A real favorite is also (just noticed): using java 1.4 methods and trying to run with java 1.3 this results in some really nice errors. Usually quickly found though, unless it’s more complicated *lol*

  2. Using Eclipse or some other IDE to compile most of the time and forgetting to update your make/build file so once you compile without the IDE you keep getting funky errors.

    Forgot to commit something and checked out somewhere else is also a nice one. Or deleted something locally and forgot to remove it in the CVS repository.

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