Friday, 18 January 2008

Debugging Software

I was out for Christmas lunch on Wednesday with work (we are so disorganised that we always end up having a Christmas meal after Christmas), and we were talking about memories of being at University.

One of the people I was sat with was describing the bar at the Uni he had attended and said it was a great place to go to grab a pint while stepping through printed code to debug a problem. I had trouble remembering the last time I did this (debug code on paper, not grab a pint).

It used to be very common to debug code by printing out the program and then stepping through it in your head to spot where the problem lay. I don't know if it is just that programs have become more complex or if it is that computer languages have changed so much that this method of debugging is no longer feasible. While I was always happy to step through BASIC code on paper I can't imagine doing the same with any Object-Orientated language such as Java.
19 January 2008 at 08:27 , Graham said...

When I was doing my post-grad I did a bit of programming in Fortran and Cobol (do they still exist?). I had some problems with programming in the same way that I had problems understanding binary arithmatic! Just as I had some problems (in those days) with double entry book-keeping when I was a trainee accountant. Hence my ending up being a bureaucrat- public administration and law were so much easier!

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