REVIEW: "Debug It: Find, Repair, and Prevent Bugs in Your Code", Paul Butcher
- BKDEBGIT.RVW 20130122
"Debug It: Find, Repair, and Prevent Bugs in Your Code", Paul Butcher,
2009, U$34.95/C$43.95, 978-1-93435-628-9
%A Paul Butcher paul@...
%C 2831 El Dorado Pkwy, #103-381 Frisco, TX 75033
%G 978-1-93435-628-9 1-93435-628-X
%I Pragmatic Bookshelf
%O U$34.95/C$43.95 sales@... 800-699-7764
%O Audience n- Tech 2 Writing 1 (see revfaq.htm for explanation)
%P 214 p.
%T "Debug It: Find, Repair, and Prevent Bugs in Your Code"
The preface states that there are lots of books in the market that
teach development and few that teach debugging. (In my experience, a
great many development books include debugging advice, so I'm not sure
where the author's perception comes from.) The work is structured
around a core method for debugging: reproduce, diagnose, fix, and
Part one presents the basic technique. Chapter one repeats the
description of this core method. Chapter two encourages the
reproduction of the bug. (This can be more complex than the author
lets on. I have a netbook with some bug in the hibernation function.
Despite constant observation over a period of three and a half years,
I've yet to find a combination of conditions that reproduces the
failure, nor one that prevents it.) Some of the suggestions given are
useful, if pedestrian, while others are pretty pointless. (Butcher
does not address the rather thorny issue of using "real" data for
testing.) In terms of diagnosis, in chapter three, there is limited
description of process, but lots of good tips. The same is true of
fixing, in chapter four. (I most definitely agree with the
recommendation to fix underlying causes, rather than effects.)
Reflection, the topic of chapter five, is limited to advice that the
problem be considered even after you've fixed it.
Part two explores the larger picture. Chapter six examines bug
tracking systems, and eliciting feedback from users and support staff.
Chapter seven advises on trying to address the bugs, but concentrates
on "fix early," with little discussion of priorities or ranking
Part three, entitled "Debug Fu," turns to related and side issues.
The "Special Cases" in chapter eight seem to be fairly common:
software already released, compatibility issues, and "heisenbugs" that
disappear when you try to track them. Chapter nine, on the ideal
debugging environment, is about as practical as most such exercises.
"Teach Your Software to Debug Itself" in chapter ten seems confined to
a few specific cases. Chapter eleven notes some common problems in
development teams and structures.
The advice in the book is good, and solid, but not surprising to
anyone with experience. Novices who have not considered debugging
much will find it useful.
copyright, Robert M. Slade 2013 BKDEBGIT.RVW 20130122
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