An Effective Approach to Enhancing Compiler Error Messages

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Title: An Effective Approach to Enhancing Compiler Error Messages
Authors: Becker, Brett A.
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/7583
Date: 5-Mar-2016
Abstract: Compiler error messages present a significant challenge to novice programmers from the time they write their first program. These messages report details on errors the programmer made and are essential as a student's primary source of information on correcting their mistakes. However these frequently inadequate messages present a barrier to progress and are often a source of discouragement. We have designed and implemented an editor that provides enhanced compiler error messages to CS1 students learning Java and conducted a controlled empirical study. We find a reduced frequency of overall errors, errors per student, and identify eight compiler error messages for which enhancement has a significant effect. We also find a reduced number of repeated errors which indicates fewer students struggling with compiler errors.
Type of material: Conference Publication
Publisher: ACM
Copyright (published version): 2016 ACM
Keywords: Java;Debugging;Errors;Syntax errors;Error messages;Compiler errors;Feedback;Novice;Programming;CS1
DOI: 10.1145/2839509.2844584
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Is part of: SIGCSE '16 Proceedings of the 47th ACM Technical Symposium on Computing Science Education
Conference Details: SIGCSE '16: The 47th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, Memphis, Tennessee, 2 - 5 March 2016
Appears in Collections:Computer Science Research Collection

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