Dan Wood: The Eponymous Weblog (Archives)

Dan Wood Dan Wood is co-owner of Karelia Software, creating programs for the Macintosh computer. He is the father of two kids, lives in the Bay Area of California USA, and prefers bicycles to cars. This site is his older weblog, which mostly covers geeky topics like Macs and Mac Programming. Go visit the current blog here.

Useful Tidbits and Egotistical Musings from Dan Wood

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Mon, 21 Apr 2008

Developers need to get Spin Dumps as well as Crash Dumps

Users of Leopard may have noticed that if you have to force-quit an application, you are prompted to submit a report to Apple, not unlike the crash reporting mechanism we are all used to.

As a developer, it occurred to me that this information would be very useful for me (and third-party developers in general) as well.

I did some investigating, and found that these reports are stored in a subfolder of Library/Logs/HangReporter/. (, it turns out, did some analysis of this folder a while back. Incidentally, it looks like the problem of the UNKNOWN folders has been fixed.)

Unfortunately, this directory, and the subdirectories for each application's reports, are root-only. I'm supposing that Apple put in this protection so that applications couldn't tell what other applications were doing, but the problem is that there is no way for the third-party application to reasonably look to determine if there is a new spin report that needs submitting. I don't think a user is going to tolerate being asked for an admin password every time they launch an application, just so the application can check to see if there are any new reports!

It would be much more useful if application-specific spin reports could be put into a user's home directory, and made readable to that user. Then, third-party developers could cobble together a mechanism for reporting a hang, just like many of us do for crash reports.

Saving spin reports is a really cool new feature in Leopard, but if there is no way to help the third-party developer, it's just a potential feature.

Filed as rdar://5879393.