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Dogs Not Barking: What Does It Mean in IT?

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Read this post to learn about “dogs not barking,” an expression in IT that means you do not receive alarm notifications when there is obviously a system error.
Join the DZone community and get the full member experience. Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention? Holmes: To the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime. Gregory: The dog did nothing in the nighttime. Holmes: That was the curious incident. The Adventure of Silver Blaze What relation does this expression have to do with IT, and when is it used? We use it for cases when something deviates from a usual situation. Normally, it is a signal about some kind of a problem, when the dogs are “not barking” but they should have been. Another example may occur when there are no alerts about issues while normally they are present. In other words, we use this expression for something suspicious; something that normally isn’t there. For example: It is time to have a look at what might cause the dogs to stop barking, or in other words, to have a look at what might go wrong. We use a set of alerting tools to be updated on any failure. So if there are no alerts, it means that one or another alerting tool stopped working or its settings aren’t alright. Examples? Here we go. Yep, we rely on Sentry for alerting user behavior. Let me elaborate more on this tool and help explain how many things depend on it. Even if your code seems to be clean, even if you did your best to cover it all in tests, testing everything is impossible. There are PLENTY of new and old browsers across multiple devices: smartphones, PC, tablets, game consoles, IoT devices, and smartwatches. Yep, you can run tests on many of them but I doubt whether you can test just everything. Moreover, your way of using your app is your way. Users might have a completely different approach to using it. They will for sure do something you would never expect. Bugs might appear just because the sequence of tasks is handled in a way that seems illogical to you but it is logical for another user, and this sequence might cause an error or make the entire app fail.

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