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Debug effectively though a formalized problem solving methodology

niharikapujari profile image Niharika Pujari ・3 min read

What is Debugging?

Definition:


Debugging is the routine process of locating and removing computer program bugs, errors or abnormalities, which is methodically handled by software programmers via debugging tools. Debugging checks, detects and corrects errors or bugs to allow proper program operation according to set specifications.

In simpler words, Debugging is the process of fixing a bug in the software. It refers to identifying, analyzing and removing errors. This activity begins after the software fails to execute properly and concludes by solving the problem and successfully testing the software.

It is considered to be an extremely complex and tedious task because errors need to be resolved at all stages of debugging. Once errors are known during a program code, it’s necessary to initial establish the precise program statements liable for the errors and so to repair them.

Strategies:



  • Study the system for the larger duration in order to understand the system. It helps debugger to construct different representations of systems to be debugging depends on the need. Study of the system is also done actively to find recent changes made to the software.

  • Backwards analysis of the problem which involves tracing the program backward from the location of failure message in order to identify the region of faulty code. A detailed study of the region is conducting to find the cause of defects.

  • Forward analysis of the program involves tracing the program forwards using breakpoints or print statements at different points in the program and studying the results. The region where the wrong outputs are obtained is the region that needs to be focused to find the defect.

  • Using the past experience of the software debug the software with similar problems in nature. The success of this approach depends on the expertise of the debugger.

Approaches:

Brute Force Method:
This is the foremost common technique of debugging however is that the least economical method. during this approach, the program is loaded with print statements to print the intermediate values with the hope that a number of the written values can facilitate to spot the statement in error. This approach becomes a lot of systematic with the utilization of a symbolic program (also known as a source code debugger), as a result of values of various variables will be simply checked and breakpoints and watchpoints can be easily set to check the values of variables effortlessly.

Backtracking:

This is additionally a reasonably common approach. during this approach, starting from the statement at which an error symptom has been discovered, the source code is derived backward till the error is discovered. sadly, because the variety of supply lines to be derived back will increase, the quantity of potential backward methods will increase and should become unmanageably large so limiting the utilization of this approach.

Cause Elimination Method:

In this approach, a listing of causes that may presumably have contributed to the error symptom is developed and tests are conducted to eliminate every. A connected technique of identification of the error
from the error symptom is that the package fault tree analysis.

Program Slicing:

This technique is analogous to backtracking. Here the search house is reduced by process slices. A slice of a program for a specific variable at a particular statement is that the set of supply lines preceding this statement which will influence the worth of that variable

Conclusion:



Debugging is a synonym of troubleshooting. It is an integral part of the entire software development life cycle. To be good at debugging, one needs to be good at analyzing the code well. However, not all reported issues are bugs. It’s very necessary to identify between a bug and a mere misunderstanding that can be solved easily by communicating with each other.


In the long run, it is very essential to design and plan the program well before you start coding it. Discuss among your teammates and prepare a documentation of the application to be developed.
These few steps will help you to minimize the risk of bugs and save you hefty time that debugging usually takes.

Last but not the least, bugs make developers better programmers. It makes them think more and teaches them to analyze the code better. So, next time when you come across a bug, don’t be scared! Follow the approaches and you should be able to debug effectively.

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