No feedback whatsoever on invalid YAML

Starting with this commit, Travis stopped reacting to pushes to my repository. There was no error message, no feedback, even in the GitHub Webhook settings the response for the hook seemed fine:

Headers:
Connection: keep-alive
Content-Length: 2
Date: Wed, 16 Oct 2019 07:59:45 GMT
Server: Cowboy
Via: 1.1 vegur
X-Content-Type-Options: nosniff

Body:
{}

I tried disabling and re-enabling Travis integration, no look. It all was quite mysterious.

Only after lots of failed attempts I realized that I made a mistake with the quoting in the YAML, and fixing the quoting fixed Travis. But it seems like quite a failure for Travis to give no feedback whatsoever when the YAML is ill-formed.

Instead of pretending my repository doesn’t exist, it would be great if Travis could show an error somewhere telling me what’s wrong.

There actually is feedback but it’s not prominent at all: at More Options->Requests: https://travis-ci.org/RalfJung/miri-test-libstd/requests

I do agree that it should be made more prominent when a build is not created for whatever reason but I don’t quite see how.

  • The only idea I have is to pull the Requests tab out of the menu since it has proven by practice to be of more than a marginal interest (specifically, it’s essential in troubleshooting).
  • There could also be some signal – e.g. a symbol near “Requests” – when a recent build has not been created. But the system would have to somehow distinguish whether this was intended or not – this is where the difficulty is.

This new feature is promising to make the feedback more prominent:

Ah, I will keep that in mind for the next time. I don’t think I ever visited that submenu entry.

So the “obvious” page to look at when checking for branch builds is the page for that branch. That’s where I went first, anyway. Maybe if the YAML is invalid, it could create a “fake build”, just something that’s listed on the branch page, saying the build failed because the YAML is invalid? For me as a user, “YAML invalid” and “setup part of my CI script failed” are really two very similar failure modes, so it would make sense to report them to me in the same way.

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