There's nothing like D[eployment]-day when it comes to finding out how good your code really is. No matter how good your error handling is, no matter how well you've done internal testing, those persistent users can find a bug hiding in any corner. But that didn't bother Sridhar T -- he was confident that his team built a system that would "wow" the customer and that any bugs found would be minor in light of the big picture. He didn't quite expect the exact opposite reaction after deploying a mid-sized, four-module, thirty-six screen project ...

Sridhar,

We have reviewed the system as you've requested. Unfortunately, there were so many major issues on the first screen (request form) that we've been unable to continue testing. Please review these items and call as soon as you give a chance. Following are the issues.

Requested Date
If you type "02/30/2005" in this field, it gives the following message: "The date entered is not valid. Dates must be entered in the MM/DD/YYYY format." We then typed in "MM/DD/YYYY" in the same field and it provided the same exact message. This will greatly confuse the users.

Since the program knows what is incorrect about the date, it should tell the user, instead of leaving it up to him or her to figure out. Typing in "02/30/2005" should tell the user something to the effect of, "although the month and year are correct, there are not 30 days in February, only 28."

Renewal Date
Same problems as Requested Date.

---- snip -----

Notify Email
This field is the most troubling of all. No matter what we put in the field (aside from an email address), the only message we receive is "The email entered is not valid." This includes everything from "AAAAAAAAAAAAA" to ".....@.@.@.@@@@@" -- all the same message. Again, since your programming knows what's wrong with the email address, it needs to tell the user:
 - There is no @ sign in the address
 - The address does not end with a ".com" or ".net"
 - A semi-colon is an invalid character
 - (etc.)

As I mentioned before, we have halted all testing -- there is just no way that we can continue to spend our time testing a system with so many obvious problems. Please call so we can discuss.

Thanks,
-- Name Withheld --

It's a bit of an understatement to say that things went completely down hill from there ...

(Note: Fixed a typo)