Debugging: The 9 Indispensable Rules for Finding Even the Most Elusive Software and Hardware Problems

Overview

"When the pressure is on to root out an elusive software or hardware glitch, what’s needed is a cool head courtesy of a set of rules guaranteed to work on any system, in any circumstance. Written in a frank but engaging style, Debuggingprovides simple, foolproof principles guaranteed to help find any bug quickly. This book makes those shelves of application-specific debugging books (on C++, Perl, Java, etc.) obsolete. It changes the way readers think about debugging, making ...

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Overview

"When the pressure is on to root out an elusive software or hardware glitch, what’s needed is a cool head courtesy of a set of rules guaranteed to work on any system, in any circumstance. Written in a frank but engaging style, Debuggingprovides simple, foolproof principles guaranteed to help find any bug quickly. This book makes those shelves of application-specific debugging books (on C++, Perl, Java, etc.) obsolete. It changes the way readers think about debugging, making those pesky problems suddenly much easier to find and fix.

Illustrating the rules with real-life bug-detection war stories, the book shows readers how to:

• Understand the system: how perceiving the "roadmap" can hasten your journey

• Quit thinking and look: when hands-on investigation can’t be avoided

• Isolate critical factors: why changing one element at a time can be an essential tool

• Keep an audit trail: how keeping a record of the debugging process can win the day"

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Editorial Reviews

Richmond Times-Dispatch
Problem-solvers everywhere can benefit from this straight-forward guide to fixing glitches in systems and software.
Poptronics
both computer users and professionals will save hours of valuable time previously spent tracking the source of computer problems.
EDN Access
...the book lays out sensible strategies and tactics, clearly based on years of experience and reflection.
Dr. Dobb's Journal
I have printed out his rules and expect I'll lend this book out frequently.
San Francisco, CA February 2003
New.Architect
...a short but invaluable work dedicated to helping you hunt down pesky problems online and off."
GlobeTechology.com
Fun, charming, motivating, and instructive, Debugging is a good gift for your friendly computer fixer.
IEEE Software Magazine
Unlike most books about debugging, this book isn't a technical manual. It's easy to follow and logical in approach and progression. The author elegantly presents the concepts and makes the debugging task unintimidating but, at the same time, points out that the major task is learning to apply his rules. Debugging not only makes the subject area easy to understand; it's an excellent example of how you can present the art of debugging in a way that's meaningful and exciting. This book should be required reading for all technology college students. It explains the logic you need in the real world, logic that so many students don't learn before graduation. After reading this book, I got excited about debugging and went out to look for something to test the nine-rule approach on.
Test & Measurement World
get this book. Its stories and examples are amusing and instructive. If you master the rules, writes Agans, you can be a hero, or at least leave work on time and get a good night's sleep.
From The Critics
Slashdot.org
Debugging explains the fundamentals of finding and fixing bugs (once a bug has been detected), rather than any particular technology. It's best for developers who are novices or who are only moderately experienced, but even old pros will find helpful reminders of things they know they should do but forget in the rush of the moment. This book will help you fix those inevitable bugs, particularly if you're not a pro at debugging. It's hard to bottle experience; this book does a good job. This is a book I expect to find useful many, many, years from now.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814434451
  • Publisher: AMACOM
  • Publication date: 9/16/2013
  • Pages: 200
  • Sales rank: 544,738
  • Product dimensions: 6.69 (w) x 9.61 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

David J. Agans (Milford, NH) is a recognized expert called in to help with tough debugging problems. He currently runs PointSource, a computer systems consultancy. He has worked with industrial control and monitoring systems, integrated circuit design, handheld PCs, videoconferencing, and countless other systems.

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Table of Contents

"Chapter 1: How Can That Work?

Chapter 2: The Rules — Suitable for Framing

Chapter 3: Understand The System

Chapter 4: Make It Fail

Chapter 5: Quit Thinking and Look

Chapter 6: Divide and Conquer

Chapter 7: Change One Thing At A Time

Chapter 8: Keep An Audit Trail

Chapter 9: Check The Plug

Chapter 10: Get A Fresh View

Chapter 11: If You Didn’t Fix It, It Ain’t Fixed

Chapter 12: All The Rules In One Story

Chapter 13: Easy Exercises For The Reader

Chapter 14: The View From The HelpDesk

Chapter 15: The Bottom Line"

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2002

    Belongs on every programmer's bookshelf

    David Agans does a great job of explaining how to approach debugging as a science rather than an art. If you're a novice programmer, you'll find a wealth of distilled knowledge here that would take many years to acquire on your own. While experienced programmers may consider most of the rules to be obvious, that doesn't mean they're common practice. I've been debugging for more than 20 years, and still learnt some useful new tricks. Rule 3 ("Quit thinking and look") is a particularly good one to keep in mind. Peppered throughout the text are a large number of war stories from the author's own experience with embedded systems. As well as illustrating how to (and more commonly, how not to) approach a particular problem, these are all well written and often entertaining. Some of my favourites: how wearing the wrong shirt to work caused a new video compression chip to crash; a vacuum cleaner that made the house lights flash on and off; a noisy read/write line that led a junior engineer to mistakenly redesign an entire co-processor memory circuit; the well pump that wasn't broken; and the self-test feature on an old Pong video game. Although most examples are hardware related, the approach described can be applied to almost any problem; indeed, several of the examples used have nothing to do with computing. This is not a large book, but it's well laid out, easy to follow, and doesn't talk down to the reader. It's also packed with enough meat to satisfy the hungriest of programmers. Highly recommended.

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