Just recently I was faced with the problem that one of our services did not deliver at all. The data somehow got missing on the way so I had to check every point on the way the data is flowing to find out where it failed.
It would’ve been quicker if the only error message I received would have been correct.
The data flowing was actually a PDF and on its way it hit several places none of which appeared to have any reporting of an error.
Only in the last place before the user gets it I received an error message telling me that the it didn’t receive the file.
With this being my only clue I had to suspect the previous step to fail delivering the PDF to the last step in the chain.
Nothing was found.
In the end it emerged that the error message “File not available” was actually the default error message for whatever happened on the last part of the chain. It turned out that the file actually got delivered and then got lost.
This lazy error message did actually cost about three to four hours of investigation while it probably would’ve cost much less to phrase better.