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Incorrect error message when task fails to complete

yfarjounyfarjoun Broad InstituteDev ✭✭✭

When a task returned with an error code, and also one or more of the output files is missing, the "failure" that is reported is that the file couldn't be transferred. While this is technically true, the Failure reason should be that the error code is invalid and also that a file was missing (perhaps).

Only reporting the missing file leads the user down the wrong track. it takes serious digging to figure out that the error code was invalid and that the program failed to complete.


  • first check error code then try to delocalize files. Reason for error should be "Invalid Error Code" first, possibly "Missing File" second.
  • show the error code in the task summary in Firecloud. As it stands one needs to spend valuable clicks tracking down the error code.


  • Geraldine_VdAuweraGeraldine_VdAuwera Cambridge, MAMember, Administrator, Broadie admin

    I agree, this confused the heck out of me when I started using the system. I think it's a Cromwell limitation though (FC just gets whatever Cromwell reports), and I believe they've been working on providing better error messaging. Let me get one of the red devs to pitch in.

  • yfarjounyfarjoun Broad InstituteDev ✭✭✭
  • jgentryjgentry Member, Broadie, Dev ✭✭✭
    edited September 2017

    Hi @yfarjoun - if I understand what you're describing that's actually a PAPI thing and people have complained to them before about it. Cromwell doesn't do anything regarding (de)localization of files, that's part of the PAPI internals. Cromwell is then reporting the error that they generate.

    edit: I think I misunderstood you. Generally when I've seen this, people are asking us to change the localization procedures to be more robust. I think you're just asking to have the actual error reworded? We might be able to do that.

  • yfarjounyfarjoun Broad InstituteDev ✭✭✭

    I don't know who PAPI is. Sounds gangsta'.

    At any rate, I wish to be informed that the failure is due to an invalid return code from the script, rather than (or perhaps in addition to) failure to deloc. a missing file. It makes my life easier.

    I would also like to see the return code in FireCloud for both successful and failed tasks.

    Also, when you have time. I'd like a pony. Preferably one that poops icecream. :smile:

  • jgentryjgentry Member, Broadie, Dev ✭✭✭

    PAPI == JES, "Pipelines API"

  • Geraldine_VdAuweraGeraldine_VdAuwera Cambridge, MAMember, Administrator, Broadie admin

    IIRC only unicorns poop ice cream. If you've been sold regular pony ice cream in the past, I have bad news for you.

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