The Web Service That Cried 500

guest post by: AWSop

There once was a web service who was not programmed with other developers in mind when he was originally written. To communicate any error, small or large, he took a great breath and sang out, “500! 500! The internal server has an error!”

The other developers came running to the error logs to help the web service drive the 500 error away. But when they arrived at the top of the logs, they found no 500. The web service laughed at the sight of their angry faces.

“Don’t cry ‘500’, web service,” said the developers, “when there’s no 500!” They went grumbling back out of the logs muttering “:q! and exit” under their breath.

Later, the web service sang out again, “500! 500! The internal server has an unspecified error!” To his naughty delight, he watched the developers ssh into the server and cd to logs to help him drive the 500 away.

When the developers saw no 500 they sternly said, “Save your frightened song for when there is really something wrong! Don’t cry ‘500’ when there is a more specific error!”

But the web service just grinned and watched them go grumbling back out of the logs once more.

Later, he had a REAL Internal Server Error, a power surge to the datacenter! Alarmed, he leaped to his feet and sang out as loudly as he could, “500! 500!”

But the developers thought he was trying to fool them again, and so they didn’t come.

At sunset, everyone wondered why the web service hadn’t hadn’t come back online. They went on to the server to find the web service. They found him wiped.

“There really was an internal server error! The data has scattered! I cried out, “500!” Why didn’t you come?”

A kindly developer tried to comfort the web service as they re-provisioned the servers.

“We’ll help you look for the lost data in the morning,” he said, putting his arm around the web service, “Nobody believes a liar…even when he is telling the truth!”

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