Last modified 3 years ago Last modified on 05/09/19 09:12:26

Reporting VSO Errors

We appreciate anyone who reports VSO errors. Although there might be problems that are outside our control, be assured that we do care, and we would hope that no one would ever run into problems using the VSO. Unfortunately, it's a complex system with many changing parts, some dependencies that we're not in full control of, and errors do happen.

Please let us know about problems, even if it seems to go away on its own. This might be a sign of something going wrong that we need to look into before it gets worse or fails completely.

There are some things that you can do when reporting error messages that will help us to track down what's going wrong and fix things more quickly:

  • Send error messages to help@… . Although specific team members may have helped you quickly in the past, they might be on vacation or distracted by other emergencies, so even if you e-mail them directly, you should also cc: help@… to make sure that your problem doesn't get lost.
  • Tell us *when* the problem happened. "A few minutes ago" might be enough, but if you can give us more specifics ("3:02PM CST") that's even more useful.
  • Tell us *how* you were interacting with the VSO. People typically connect using SunPy, IDL, or a web interface, but other interfaces have been made using the VSO API. If you can, give us the version number for SunPy or IDL, as you may be running into a known problem with a specific version. For the web interface, copy the URL of the page that gave the error, as there are a number of copies of the VSO web interface that all look alike.
  • Tell us where in the VSO search process you were. There are three main steps when using the VSO to get data : 'Search', where you give a query and get back a list of records; 'GetData?', where you tell the VSO what records you're interested in and get back a list of URLs; and 'Download', where you try to retrieve those URLs.
  • Tell us what you were trying to do when the problem happened. If you're using SunPy, IDL, or some other command line interface, it would be great if you could copy & paste what command you used that triggered the error. For the web client, tell us what screen you were on, and what you clicked to get to the next page. If you failed during downloading with the web client, tell us the 'Shopping Cart ID'.
  • Tell us if there were any specific error or warning messages. Ideally, copy & paste the messages and put that in the error report.
  • Tell us what results you expected. If you expected a search to return data from a specific instrument and it didn't, the VSO might be working correctly but we have data that's either not indexed and VSO didn't know about it or described incorrectly so the VSO didn't think it matched.
  • Tell us *where* you were connecting from. If you contact us from a GMail account or similar, we may not be able to connect what institut
  • If you're using the IDL client, you can resend your last command with '/debug', and it will dump exactly what message was sent to and received from the VSO and then stop processing. If you can, copy and paste that output, then issue the IDL command '.continue'.
  • If the errors seem to come and go, please let us know that it's been intermittent. IF you see any pattern (it works from one computer, but not another; it works when you're at the office but not at home; the problems seem to happen around 10am every day)

So, a less than ideal report:

I tried using the VSO the other day, but it didn't work.

Some better error messages:

I used (VSO interface) to search for (physical observable/wavelength) data from (timerange) at (time) today, but it didn't return any data from (instrument).

I used SunPy to search for ... at about 2pm today, but only got back 20 records. I expected closer to 300.

I was able to search the VSO using IDL vso_search for ..., and got back 280 records, but when I ran vso_get, I got the following error message: ... . This sort of thing has happened to me the last three mornings, but it runs fine at night.

Thank you again to everyone who lets us know when something isn't working.