Re: Newbie grief

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On Thu, 3 May 2012 20:13:01 -0700, Nathan Gray wrote:

> On Thu, May 3, 2012 at 6:01 PM, Illia Bobyr <ibobyr@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>>
>> It is just a "non-fast forward" move of a branch tip.  This term
>> describes what happens precisely :)
>>
>> It is true, that the term is non obvious to the new comers.
>> One may google and get an explanation of the error pretty quickly.
>> First hit for "git non fast forward error" gives an explanation from a
>> new comer point of view for the simplest case.
>
> I just led a team of reasonably bright people through a transition
> from SVN to git.  Not one of them understood this message.  Every one
> of them thought something was broken.  This is a very common
> occurrence, so a short, simple message without jargon for this error
> would be a big, big win.

Well, what is your suggestion?

Nobody in this thread has yet provided an explicit improvement because
the actual complaint is that the vast majority of people (including
supposed "professionals") don't RTFM; it never even occurs to them!

Let's look at the message in question:

  To $uri_for_central_repo
   ! [rejected]        HEAD -> feature_0 (non-fast-forward)
  error: failed to push some refs to '$uri_for_central_repo'
  To prevent you from losing history, non-fast-forward updates were rejected
  Merge the remote changes (e.g. 'git pull') before pushing again.  See the
  'Note about fast-forwards' section of 'git push --help' for details.

Not only does this already spoonfeed the reader with a suggested
command for getting back on track (i.e., 'git pull'), but it also
explicitly points out the relevant documentation and HOW to gain
immediate access to that information from the command line!

As for a seemingly conservative suggestion, how about using a little
more structural white space:

  To $uri_for_central_repo
   ! [rejected]        HEAD -> feature_0 (non-fast-forward)

  error: failed to push some refs to '$uri_for_central_repo'

  To prevent you from losing history, non-fast-forward updates were rejected
  Merge the remote changes (e.g. 'git pull') before pushing again.  See the
  'Note about fast-forwards' section of 'git push --help' for details.

Alas! Error output like this is constructed in the code in a way that
potentially makes adding such white space non-trivial.

Perhaps the error message system needs an overhall; rather than spitting
out error messages from anywhere, they ought to be corralled and collated
by a dedicated subsystem.
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