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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does exactly what it says on the cover., 1 Feb 2010
This review is from: Debug It!: Find, Repair, and Prevent Bugs in Your Code (Pragmatic Programmers) (Paperback)
Debug It! endeared itself to me on the very first page, with the statement that 'Debugging is more than "Making the bug go away"'. At last! Someone who understands! This sets the tone for the whole book, which takes a refreshingly sensible approach to debugging, and passes on a huge amount of essential knowledge in a clear and very readable manner. The frequent and amusing real-life anecdotes confirm that Paul has "been there, done that" - and learnt the lessons. I found the sections on concurrency and 'Heisenbugs' particularly useful - as an embedded systems programmer, these types of bugs are the bane of my life. The final chapter on "anti-patterns" was also interesting, showing how the team/department environment can influence code quality.

Working in an environment where all team members do a regular "tour of duty" on product support (avoiding anti-pattern 11.3...), I shall definitely be recommending this book to my colleagues - it's invaluable as a "best practice" guide for novices, as well as a handy "hang on a minute..." reference for more experienced coders.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thorough and well-written, 28 Feb 2010
By 
Jeremy Clark (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Debug It!: Find, Repair, and Prevent Bugs in Your Code (Pragmatic Programmers) (Paperback)
This book contains a lot of very helpful advice, both on the practical use of tools and the mindset necessary to debug code. In the process, it covers a range of software engineering best practices, such as test driven development, automated builds and software configuration management. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All is not lost when trying to debug the thorniest of issues, 24 Jan 2010
By 
Tim Green (Cambridgeshire, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Debug It!: Find, Repair, and Prevent Bugs in Your Code (Pragmatic Programmers) (Paperback)
While some of the tips may seem obvious to those with even a few years experience (you do use some form of source control, don't you?), Paul not only helps find bugs after they have occurred but also before with tips about automated testing, the use of asserts, logging, etc. Reading all the obvious tips written down in one place helped me remember that all is not lost when trying to debug the thorniest of issues. While many of the of the code examples are Java, other languages are not forgotten. There is some Python, Ruby, and C and C++.

In the section on Anti-Patterns, Paul gives advice and tips on office politics, for example dealing with Prima Donnas and issues of code ownership. The tools section covers a wide variety, not just focused on digging out bugs, but tracking them and, just in case you don't, source control.

The book is written in a very easy going style and I can imagine a talk by him being very well received at conferences like The Association of C and C++ Users.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-written and engaging guide to debugging, 9 Jan 2010
By 
Carl (Bishop's Stortford, Herts. UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Debug It!: Find, Repair, and Prevent Bugs in Your Code (Pragmatic Programmers) (Paperback)
This is a very well-written book about the process of debugging. It's easy to read without compromising on depth or quality. The real-world examples are both memorable and realistic, including examples of both success and failure in debugging (as well as the printer pixies). The treatment of the subject matter is broad as well as deep, and contains discussions on test-led development, continuous integration and automated testing, as well as giving examples of debugging, integration and testing tools for further investigation. The user-friendly asides and terminology (e.g. "heisenbugs") means that the concepts and examples really stick in your mind.

I will be recommending it to my colleagues, and attempting to implement as much as possible in my next project.

In-depth coverage of the subject, *and* printer pixies. WNTL?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, required reading for ANY programmer, 24 May 2012
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This review is from: Debug It!: Find, Repair, and Prevent Bugs in Your Code (Pragmatic Programmers) (Paperback)
I have read a lot of computer books in my time, and I can honestly say this was one of the best and most useful I have ever read.

The book is very well written, and clearly explained. It takes you through the various stages of identifying, tracking down, isolating, and fixing a bug, as well as the crucial stage (that most of us miss) of how to learn from the bug and prevent it, or similar bugs happening again.

Even after 30+ years of writing software, I found a lot to learn here. Even the bits that I already knew were worth reading as it gave a fresh and clear perspective on the subject.

Perhaps almost as important as the bug fixing section was the section on how to write software that prevents bugs, or at least catches them early in the development cycle. Some of the ideas here were obvious, some weren't, but they all added up to a methodology for making the software tell YOU where the bugs are.

Absolutely well recommended. Should be compulsory reading for anyone in the software business, whether an independent developer, or a member of a large team.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book - recommended reading for all software engineers, 1 April 2011
By 
S. C. Smith (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Debug It!: Find, Repair, and Prevent Bugs in Your Code (Pragmatic Programmers) (Paperback)
I'm very pleased to have bought "Debug It!". It sums up some of the techniques I've learnt the hard way over the last 12 years as a software engineer finding elusive bugs (mainly C and C++). Full of practical suggestions, not just in improving the process of diagnosing and fixing bugs, but also covering lessons learnt and the human elements of working in a team. With just a handful of Java examples, it is well written with just the right level of detail, mixed with appropriate case stories and useful lists of tools and websites in the appendix.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From debugging to software engineering, 1 Feb 2010
By 
D. Hooper "IT Consultant" (Durham, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Debug It!: Find, Repair, and Prevent Bugs in Your Code (Pragmatic Programmers) (Paperback)
I started reading this book expecting a few tips on that most difficult aspect of programming - debugging that impossible to find bug.

After a few pages it became clear that it's not written in the usual dry textbook manner as Paul's friendly, informative and frequently entertaining style covers the subject at a perfectly balanced pace.

Even as an experienced software engineer I found the book added many more tools to my debugging armoury. Further to this it also reminded me of many things I'd forgotten, usually by means of an anecdote that was both insightful and entertaining.

Despite it's excellence as a book for the older coder, its manner is also perfectly suited to novice programmers. Each technique is clearly explained in a practical way with advice on when to use it in a way that empowers the reader. It is then followed by techniques on how to prevent the bug (and similar bugs) reoccurring.

However, perhaps the book's greatest achievement is that the above style results in it covering the majority of modern software engineering practice by demonstrating that each part is simply the most sensible way to keep bugs out of your code. On reflection this may seem obvious, after all, software engineering is the practice of creating reliable programs without bugs. But to cover all this ground so clearly in 232 pages without once rushing, or patronising, such a wide range of readers is a remarkable achievement.

I will be recommending Debug It! to all my department - experienced and beginner alike. I will also be rereading it regularly as it made me want to get out there and get cracking to write great code!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Debug it - an essential guide to the dark art of debugging, 22 Jan 2010
By 
This review is from: Debug It!: Find, Repair, and Prevent Bugs in Your Code (Pragmatic Programmers) (Paperback)
Debug it- is not just your typical book of algorithms and excerpts of programming guides and reference material, it gives essential insights into the mental processes that need to be captured and employed when tracking down problems in complex software.
The author does this by setting out simple strategies and mindsets that when applied will lead you to not only find the bug, but shows you the correct way to fix, test and make sure it never happens again.
Preliminary chapters focus on preventive techniques and good software engineering methodology to prevent bugs happening again.
Later chapters cover specific methods and examples

In summary this book is ideal for all levels of coders as well as those responsible for the management of quality assured software.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A motivational tool that succeeds in making debugging sound like fun, 12 Dec 2009
By 
Samuel Halliday (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Debug It!: Find, Repair, and Prevent Bugs in Your Code (Pragmatic Programmers) (Paperback)
"Debug It!" is more than a book on debugging best practices - it's a motivational tool that succeeds in making debugging sound like fun.

Full of humorous and insightful anecdotes, the main message is "nobody writes perfect code - this is how you deal with it".

Paul Butcher does a great job of succinctly documenting the different types of bugs that show up in the wild, and best practices on how to find them and stop them appearing again. The book places a strong emphasis on development in a team environment, not neglecting the human factors that are often the trickier bits to manage.

For a good programmer, many of the best practices in "Debug It!" will not come as a surprise, the true value is in having all this experience documented in a single place - you're not the only one who's had to solve these problems. That said, even seasoned programmers will feel challenged at times by thought provoking advice such as Butcher's recommendation that you occasionally work on Customer Support to get closer to your customers.

Despite having thoroughly enjoyed reading "Debug It!", I cannot help but disagree with much of Section 10.1 "Assumptions and Assertions". This is perhaps a cultural approach between languages, with my primary language being Java. I prefer explicit checks on method parameters, with appropriate exceptions being raised - greatly simplified by the Google Collections API - than Butcher's recommendation on the use of "assert". For me, bad parameters should be discovered as soon as possible, using "assert" to catch them will only lead to difficult-to-track bugs on production deployments. In my opinion, "assert" is best used to check parameters in non-public APIs and for checking variables deep within an algorithm.

The final chapter "Anti-Patterns" is perhaps the most insightful. If you are too busy to read this delightful book in its entirety, then at least read the final chapter whilst mandating that your entire development team read "Debug It!" from cover to cover.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Achieves its goals and doesn't surprise, 8 Oct 2012
By 
Christopher Cummins (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Debug It!: Find, Repair, and Prevent Bugs in Your Code (Pragmatic Programmers) (Paperback)
A review of this book pretty much writes itself. Its a book about debugging. If you read the blurb and decide that its something you would be interested in reading about - then you will be satisfied. If you read the blurb and decide that it isn't your cup of tea or that you already know enough about the subject, then don't buy it and save yourself some pennies. Reading this book will not give you any surprises or life changing epiphanies, but it will make your debugging technique noticeably more solid.

There is very little else to be said - its concise (a very quick read, I breezed through it over a weekend), well written, thoughtful and educational. It formalises many common sense practises and you will probably take something new away from it. If you think that sounds like a good use of your time, then buy it.
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