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This paper presents a design for a message management system that reduces the coding effort for the application developer, gives the user greater control over the treatment of application messages, and eliminates many problems of translation. Any message may be directed to one or more devices (screen, printer) and/or files (log, activity), with the ability to exclude message elements (e.g., date and time) from being sent to any output destination, or to exclude a destination altogether. Because the message-handling code and message texts are separated from one another and from the application code, the developer need only issue a message identifier and set the associated variable values. The message identifier contains codes for both class and severity, and the developer provides default selection criteria that the user can modify. These tables of selection criteria provide a simple yet highly flexible means of determining where each message will be sent and in what form. The simplicity of including variable information and the separation of message texts into a master repository (where an information developer or translator can work on them) tend to improve the quality of messages to the user by making them more consistent and informative.
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