Friday, October 24, 2014

PragProg - Debugging

Ref: The Pragmatic Programmer

Unfortunately, modern computer systems are still limited to doing what you tell them to do, not necessarily what you want them to do.
No one writes perfect software, so it's a given that debugging will take up a major portion of your day. Let's look at some of the issues involved in debugging and some general strategies for finding elusive bugs.

Psychology of Debugging

Having found someone else's bug, you can spend time and energy laying blame on the filthy culprit who created it. In some workplaces this is part of the culture, and may be cathartic. However, in the technical arena, you want to concentrate on fixing the problem, not the blame

TIP 24: Fix the Problem, Not the Blame

It doesn't really matter whether the bug is your fault or someone else's. It is still your problem.

A Debugging Mindset

Tip 25: Don't Panic

If your first reaction on witnessing a bug or seeing a bug report is "that's impossible," you are plainly wrong. Don't waste a single neuron on the train of thought that begins "but that can't happen" because quite clearly it can, and has.

Rubber Duck Debugging

A very simple but particularly useful technique for finding the cause of a problem is simply to explain it to someone else. The other person should look over your shoulder at the screen, and nod his or her head constantly (like a rubber duck bobbing up and down in a bathtub). They do not need to say a word; the simple act of explaining, step by step, what the code is supposed to do often causes the problem to leap off the screen and announce itself.

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