A1 Journal article (refereed)
Error messages in relational database management systems : A comparison of effectiveness, usefulness, and user confidence (2021)

Taipalus, T., Grahn, H., & Ghanbari, H. (2021). Error messages in relational database management systems : A comparison of effectiveness, usefulness, and user confidence. Journal of Systems and Software, 181, Article 111034. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jss.2021.111034

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Taipalus, Toni; Grahn, Hilkka; Ghanbari, Hadi

Journal or series: Journal of Systems and Software

ISSN: 0164-1212

eISSN: 1873-1228

Publication year: 2021

Volume: 181

Article number: 111034

Publisher: Elsevier BV

Publication country: United States

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jss.2021.111034

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Partially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/77155


The database and the database management system (DBMS) are two of the main components of any information system. Structured Query Language (SQL) is the most popular query language for retrieving data from the database, as well as for many other data management tasks. During system development and maintenance, software developers use a considerable amount of time to interpret compiler error messages. The quality of these error messages has been demonstrated to affect software development effectiveness, and correctly formulating queries and fixing them when needed is an important task for many software developers. In this study, we set out to investigate how participants () experienced the qualities of error messages of four popular DBMSs in terms of error message effectiveness, perceived usefulness for finding and fixing errors, and error recovery confidence. Our results show differences between the DBMSs by three of the four metrics, and indicate a discrepancy between objective effectiveness and subjective usefulness. The results suggest that although error messages have perceived differences in terms of usefulness for finding and fixing errors, these differences may not necessarily result in differences in query fixing success rates.

Keywords: databases; query languages; SQL; errors; error conditions; software development; control systems

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2021

JUFO rating: 3

Last updated on 2022-20-09 at 13:13