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Debugging Effectively - Frederick Web Tech 9/6/16

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Software bugs are inevitable; some are especially difficult to track down, causing you to waste countless hours before throwing your hands up in defeat. It doesn't have to be this way! The mental fatigue and wasted time can be avoided by using strategies like identifying the most-appropriate tool, taking a logical & objective approach, challenging assumptions, listening to variables, isolating the code path, and reinforcing code with automated tests. Attendees will learn how to combine these techniques with the right mindset and attitude in order to debug their code quickly and effectively.

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Debugging Effectively - Frederick Web Tech 9/6/16

  1. 1. Photo by Joseph B // cc by-nc-nd 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/7GAMBe Debugging Effectively Colin O’Dell @colinodell
  2. 2. Colin O’Dell • Lead Web Developer at Unleashed Technologies • PHP developer since 2002 • PHP League Member • league/commonmark • league/html-to-markdown • PHP 7 Upgrade Guide e-book • @colinodell / www.colinodell.com Photo by Joseph B // cc by-nc-nd 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/7GAMBe
  3. 3. Overview I. Importance of debugging II. Debugging process III. Tools & Techniques IV. Q&A Photo by Roman Boed // cc by 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/ngwcf1
  4. 4. Debugging is... Photo by Ewan Cross // cc by-nc-nd 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/7MCt3m _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (adjective)
  5. 5. Debugging is... important Photo by Ewan Cross // cc by-nc-nd 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/7MCt3m
  6. 6. Debugging is... the single most important skill in programming. Photo by Ewan Cross // cc by-nc-nd 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/7MCt3m
  7. 7. PlanningCoding Photo by florianric // cc by 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/c4QJzC
  8. 8. Planning Testing & Debugging Coding Photo by florianric // cc by 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/c4QJzC
  9. 9. Debugging is the process of finding and resolving bugs or defects that prevent correct operation of computer software or a system. – Wikipedia Photo by Stephen Dyrgas // cc by-nc-nd 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/3eTfWU
  10. 10. Process is the foundation of effective debugging Process Photo by Matthew Paulson // cc by-nc-nd 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/di35xa
  11. 11. Photo by Matthew Paulson // cc by-nc-nd 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/di35xa Gain experience with tools and code Experience Process
  12. 12. Photo by Matthew Paulson // cc by-nc-nd 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/di35xa Develop a “sixth sense” “Sixth Sense” Experience Process
  13. 13. Junior Developers • Try the “usual” steps • app/console cache:clear • composer install • chmod –R 777 * • Google the error • Try every solution • Ask somebody else • Co-worker • StackOverflow post • Give up Photo by Yoel Ben-Avraham, with changes // cc by--nd 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/6pmtQL
  14. 14. XY Problem •I want to solve problem X •How do I solve X? Photo by Yoel Ben-Avraham, with changes // cc by--nd 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/6pmtQL
  15. 15. XY Problem •I want to solve problem X •How do I solve X? •Solution Y might work •How can I do Y? Photo by Yoel Ben-Avraham, with changes // cc by--nd 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/6pmtQL
  16. 16. Photo by quattrostagioni // cc by 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/aGjVq8 1.Don’t parse HTML with regex 2.Solve problems the right way
  17. 17. “I don’t know why” “For some reason” “Doesn’t make sense” Photo by Stanley Yuu // cc by-nc-nd 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/pMnfNu
  18. 18. Bugs are logical Photo by Photofest
  19. 19. “The bug is not moving around in your code, trying to trick or evade you. It is just siting in one place, doing the wrong thing in the same way every time.” – Nick Parlante, Debugging Zen Photo by GrahamC57 // cc by-nc-nd 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/cwJi9Q
  20. 20. Assume your code is the problem Photo by Sergio Flores Rosales // cc by-nc-nd 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/5UHkaW
  21. 21. Systematic Approach 1. Gather information 2. Replicate the issue 3. Identify the culprit 4. Fix it & re-test 5. Mitigate future occurrences Photo from EduSpiral // cc by-nc-nd 3.0
  22. 22. •Expected behavior vs. actual behavior •Error messages •Stack traces Photo from youmustdesireit.wordpress.com •Screenshots •Browser & OS •Date & time •Log entries 1. Gather Information
  23. 23. 2. Replicate the Issue Be able to replicate with 100% certainty Photo by Nick Royer // cc by-sa // https://flic.kr/p/d41ASC
  24. 24. • Be methodical • Make no assumptions • Understand the bug Photo by U.S. Navy // cc 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/n6Wgks 3. Identify the Culprit
  25. 25. • Attempt to replicate again • Avoid XY problem • No temporary workarounds! • Add technical debt • May introduce other issues • Never get replaced with true solutions Photo by Jeff Eaton // cc by-sa 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/b33rSx 4. Fix & Re-test
  26. 26. 5. Mitigate Future Occurrences •Add an automated test •Share your new knowledge • Project documentation • Blog post • StackOverflow •Submit patch upstream Photo by marcokalmann // cc by-nc-nd 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/4CqLMQ
  27. 27. Recap 1. Gather information 2. Replicate the issue 3. Identify the culprit 4. Fix it & re-test 5. Mitigate future occurrences Photo from EduSpiral // cc by-nc-nd 3.0
  28. 28. Long-Term Results • Gain experience • Learn how the system works • Build heuristics • Boost confidence Photo by Glenn Beltz // cc by 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/i7Csdx
  29. 29. Tools &Techniques Photo by Alan // cc by-nc-sa 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/9azLii
  30. 30. Two essential tools • Integrated development environment (IDE) • Interactive debugger Photo by florianric // cc by 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/c4QJzC
  31. 31. Integrated Development Environment • Minimum features: • Syntax highlighting • Auto-completion • Fast code navigation • Debugger Photo by florianric // cc by 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/c4QJzC
  32. 32. Interactive Debugger • Pause code execution • Breakpoints • Conditional breakpoints • Step through execution • Examine variables • Explore call stack Photo by florianric // cc by 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/c4QJzC
  33. 33. Photo by florianric // cc by 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/c4QJzC
  34. 34. Techniques 1. Trace backwards from known issue 2. Divide & conquer 3. Use tools 4. Get help 5. Take a break Photo by Massmo Relsig // cc by-nc-nd 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/pFrJCe
  35. 35. 1. Trace backwards •Use a debugger •Identify source of error •Establish context •Work backwards Photo by Shawn Harquail // cc by-nc 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/npxFVw
  36. 36. 1. Trace backwards a() b() c() d() Photo by Shawn Harquail // cc by-nc 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/npxFVw
  37. 37. 1. Trace backwards a() b() c() d() Photo by Shawn Harquail // cc by-nc 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/npxFVw
  38. 38. 2. Divide & Conquer • Identify different code sections • Set breakpoints at the boundaries • Isolate issue to one particular area • Focus efforts on that area
  39. 39. ✓ X
  40. 40. 3. Use tools • VarDumper • Debug toolbars • Console utility • Profilers • git bisect Photo by florianric // cc by 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/c4QJzC •netcat •curl •strace •etc.
  41. 41. VarDumper Photo by Joseph B // cc by-nc-nd 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/7GAMBe Twig: {{ dump(foo) }} {% dump foo %} PHP: dump($somevar);
  42. 42. Photo by Joseph B // cc by-nc-nd 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/7GAMBe Debug toolbars
  43. 43. Photo by Joseph B // cc by-nc-nd 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/7GAMBe Console Utility Symfony: bin/console Drupal: drush Drupal Console Magento: n98-magerun Laravel: artisan
  44. 44. Performance Profiling Identify slowness: • Bottlenecks • Resource hogs • Inefficient code Photo by Alan Stark // cc by-sa 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/dn3qjx Tools: • Blackfire (freemium) • New Relic (freemium) • xhprof (open-source)
  45. 45. git bisect v1.7 ? ? ? ? ? HEAD Photo by unbekannt270 // cc by 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/oHReqm
  46. 46. git bisect v1.7 ? ? BAD ? ? HEAD Photo by unbekannt270 // cc by 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/oHReqm
  47. 47. git bisect v1.7 ? ? BAD BAD BAD HEAD Photo by unbekannt270 // cc by 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/oHReqm
  48. 48. git bisect v1.7 GOOD ? BAD BAD BAD HEAD Photo by unbekannt270 // cc by 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/oHReqm
  49. 49. git bisect v1.7 GOOD X BAD BAD BAD HEAD Photo by unbekannt270 // cc by 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/oHReqm abcd123 is the first bad commit
  50. 50. netcat Photo by Joseph B // cc by-nc-nd 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/7GAMBe
  51. 51. 4. Get help •RTFM / RTFD •Project forums or issue queue •StackOverflow, IRC, etc. •Ask a colleague • Expert in that area • Senior developer •Rubber ducking Photo by Hiromitsu Morimoto // cc by-sa 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/6Vzzaa
  52. 52. 5. Take a break • Clear your mind; start fresh • Forget invalid assumptions • Recharge your batteries • Let your subconscious work on it Photo by Kristina Alexadnerson // cc by-nc-nd 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/cFEcDC
  53. 53. Four things to walk away with 1. Computers aren’t random, and neither are bugs 2. Persistence will always pay off 3. Don’t be afraid to dive deep 4. Don’t make assumptions or take things for granted Photo by Kristina Alexadnerson // cc by-nc-nd 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/dvEpfY
  54. 54. Questions? Photo by Marcello Maria Perongini // cc by-nc-nd 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/6KDtm
  55. 55. Learn More • https://web.duke.edu/cps001/notes/Debugging.pdf • http://www.fiveminutegeekshow.com/20 • http://blog.codeunion.io/2014/09/03/teaching-novices-how-to- debug-code/ • https://www.jetbrains.com/phpstorm/help/debugging.html • http://symfony.com/doc/current/components/var_dumper/introducti on.html • http://www.sitepoint.com/debugging-git-blame-bisect/ • http://unix.stackexchange.com/a/50099/80744 • http://codeception.com/docs/01-Introduction • http://chadfowler.com/blog/2014/01/26/the-magic-of-strace/ • http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?RubberDucking Photo by Samantha Marx // cc by 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/8KrU1R
  56. 56. Thanks! Photo by Steve Rotman // cc by-nc-nd 2.0 // https://flic.kr/p/xiBK

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