Debug It!: Find, Repair, and Prevent Bugs in Your Code (Pragmatic Programmers) Paperback – 25 Nov 2009
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About the Author
Paul Butcher started out writing games for 8-bit home computers before he was a teenager, and since then has worked in diverse fields at all levels of abstraction, from microcode on bit-slice processors to high-level declarative programming and all points in between. He's been using agile approaches for the last several years, although had adopted many of the same techniques before the agile movement gave them a name. Paul's depth of experience derives from a history of working for startups in which he's had the privilege of working with several great teams on cutting edge technology.
In an attempt to demonstrate that he's at least as fast as Lewis Hamilton, Paul totaled his race-car last year. So no more playing with expensive toys for the time being-but he will be back on track soon!
Top customer reviews
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.
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?
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!
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.
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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