Warning messages are unhelpful


#1

I’m largely happy with Duplicati and appreciate the hard work that has gone into this project, but the warning features is truly mystifying. I’ve been using it for several months now and every once in a while I’ll see a red X on the system tray informing me of a “warning”. The first message is a bright red banner letting you know simply that a “warning” was received. If you click on ‘Show’, you’re sent to the log file but it’s not exactly clear which one of the dozens of entries is the pertinent one. Presumably the latest one should be the one of interest but clicking that gives you an absurdly long system message which is largely incomprehensible to me (and I assume to the general user). Even if you’re persistent and you drill down to any mentions of the word “warning”, I often see just the following:
Warnings: [ ]
Which presumably means there was no warning?? It’s incredibly confusing.

The UI is designed in such a way to grab the user’s attention by using bright red and the word “Warning”. Additionally, you HAVE to address the warning or else the notification icon will remain red. But digging down into the warning gives you either no information or way too many presumably routine system messages.

In short, the UI essentially screams at the user to pay attention and do something, but then either does not provide the pertinent information or nothing of note actually happens.

I’ve been able to deduce that the warning is most often a connection timeout, but again I can’t be sure definitively. My suggestion would be to get rid of this as a “warning” unless the connection error and timeout persists after repeated attempts. Aside from that, a clear categorization of what KIND of warning should be readily available as the first message you see. Bright red indicates danger and that can mean anything from “your entire history of backups has been irrecoverably corrupted” to “your internet was down for a second”.


#2

I was going to post this. I have been reading logs for a while, and i can decipher them, and I’m used to that kind of data.

But it’s going to be incomprehensible to non-tech savvy users.

And, as you say, especially since you get the bright red alert box, clicking ‘Show’ should take you to…a list of warnings–that’s it (with perhaps a link to the log file for more).

Same with errors.

And (as you also suggest) the warning/error should say which run the warning/error came from.

And the prefix with the code/stack levels should be removed, so it’s just human-level text.

Thanks for your post.


#3

Yeah, Duplicati logging could do with some more updates - but the (relatively) recent logging rewrite actually improved things quite a bit. Unfortunately, it was focused a lot on enhancing debugging features so didn’t do the general end user as much good.

Most likely the warning you are getting is in the global log (main menu -> About -> Show log) which the alert popups stubbornly refuse to link to for some reason.

I agree about the color scheme - generally warnings are “sometime unexpected happened but you backup is fine” while errors are “something bad happened and your backup run couldn’t complete”.

Of course a normal user wouldn’t likely know this so perhaps a tooltip explaining it might help along with maybe giving warnings an orange color instead of red. (And perhaps a color key as well.)


#4

Holy hell, I had no idea that I was being linked to the wrong page to begin with. I am looking at the log and while it’s much shorter, it’s still similarly cryptic:

System.Net.WebException: The server committed a protocol violation.
Section=ResponseStatusLine
at System.Net.WebClient.DownloadFile(Uri address, String fileName)
at Duplicati.Library.AutoUpdater.UpdaterManager.CheckForUpdate(ReleaseType channel)

I know I can’t expect human language for each and every error message for such a customizable platform but maybe there’s a middle ground where the 20 most common warnings/errors get some contextual text? E.g. “This most likely means your internet connection timed out” or similar.