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Practical Debugging in C++ / Edition 1

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Practical Debugging in C++ is the first debugging book written expressly for the beginning to intermediate level programmer. For the beginning programmer, it is a short, clear debugging guide that serves as a valuable companion to their introductory programming book when writing C++ programs. For the more advanced programmer, the guide provides a quick primer in C++ debugging with a series of examples of common syntax and semantic errors and how they can be detected and corrected. The authors cover both tracing and debugger techniques. Chapter topics include Common Syntax and Semantic Errors; Tracing Techniques for Debugging; Trace Debugging for More Advanced C++ Constructs; Using an Interactive Debugger. Appropriate as a supplementary book for C++ programming or using C++ as a programming language in departments of Computer Science, Engineering, CIS, MIS, IT, and Continuing Education.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780130653949
  • Publisher: Pearson Education
  • Publication date: 9/1/1901
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 112
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Introduction 1
Ch. 2 Common Syntax and Semantic Errors 5
2.1 Chapter Objectives 5
2.2 Syntax Errors 5
2.3 Syntax Warnings 11
2.4 Semantic Errors 15
Ch. 3 Tracing Techniques for Debugging 21
3.1 Chapter Objectives 21
3.2 Basic Tracing 21
3.3 Common Errors Detectable with Basic Tracing 28
3.4 Trace On and Off Flag 35
3.5 Tracing Using Function Calls 39
3.6 Tracing for Data in Arrays 40
3.7 Where to Insert the Traces and What Variables To Display 47
3.8 Using the Assert Macro 48
Ch. 4 Trace Debugging for More Advanced C++ Constructs 51
4.1 Chapter Objectives 51
4.2 Strings 51
4.3 Pointers 55
4.4 Structs 60
4.5 Classes 64
Ch. 5 Using an Interactive Debugger 69
5.1 Chapter Objectives 69
5.2 Fundamentals 69
5.3 Debugging with Metrowerks CodeWarrior 71
5.4 Example: Debugging a Sample C++ Program Using Metrowerks CodeWarrior 76
5.5 Debugging with Microsoft Visual C++ 84
5.6 Example: Debugging a Sample C++ Program Using Microsoft Visual C++ 89
App. A The 32 Most Common Bugs in First Programs 97
App. B Checklist for Error Detection and Prevention 99
Bibliography 102
Index 103
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This book is a tutorial on debugging techniques for both the beginning and intermediate programmer. For the beginning programmer it is meant to be a companion book to any introduction to programming in C++. Ideally this book is for students to take to their computer labs with them for quick reference when writing and debugging C++ programs. For the intermediate programmer, particularly those with some experience in other languages, this guide provides a quick up-to-speed primer in C++ debugging with a series of examples of common syntax and semantic errors and how they can be detected and corrected.

The motivation for this book came as a result of innumerable sessions in the computer lab with introductory programming classes at the University of Michigan. Unfortunately, many beginning programmers subscribe to the "programming by blind faith" method, writing the complete program, then hoping it will run correctly the first time without doing any intermediate testing, and then panicking when it crashes or generates bad data that cannot be explained. Each time they come to us with "What do I do now?" we go back to the program together to look over the basic logic, and then start inserting traces to check the intermediate results and localize the sources of error. We have come to the conclusion that students need a short, clear debugging guide as a valuable addition to their other programming tools, something they can easily carry with them and with which they can supplement their introductory programming textbooks.

Chapter 1 is a short motivational chapter that summarizes the common sources of errors in computer programs.

Chapter 2 describes the most commonsyntactic and semantic programming errors (with illustrative examples) and explains how to correct them.

Chapter 3 shows the student how to use output statements (cout) to trace variables in C++ programs, and how tracing can be easily inserted into his or her own programs. Several examples are given to illustrate how tracing can help find bugs—especially when a program runs without any runtime errors, but the results are incorrect. It also is useful to find errors quickly when the program crashes with an error message or just hangs up, leaving the programmer with no option but to kill the program and reboot the computer, over and over, until the bug is found.

Chapter 4 applies the basic principles of tracing to more advanced C++ constructs, such as strings, pointers, structs, and classes.

Chapter 5 illustrates how to use a debugger effectively as follow-on to the tracing method discussed in Chapters 3 and 4. Most compilers come with debuggers now, and students need to be able to use them at some point during their first course in programming. We strongly recommend learning to use both tracing and the debugger as alternative approaches.

The appendices give a summary of the most common bugs found in first C++ programs and a checklist of techniques for error detection and prevention. The examples in this book conform to the 1998 ISO/ANSI C++ standard.

Who should read this book?

Beginning programmers should benefit from this book because it is a quick read with many simple examples, both numeric and non-numeric. It should save them many frustrating hours of debugging time when they apply the tracing and system debugger techniques illustrated in Chapters 3 to 5. Furthermore, anyone using this book can easily read any chapter independently of the others. This should also appeal to the more experienced programmers who want to review their knowledge of debugging without wading through all the fundamentals. Instructors in introductory programming classes may want to recommend this book to their students, because it will make them much more self sufficient, and it will greatly reduce the time they need for individual counseling for their programs.

How to use this book

Beginning programmers should read Chapters 1 and 2 to get a quick overview of the basic types of errors programmers tend to make. Chapters 3 and 4 are self-contained discussions of how to use tracing in your programs with a minimum of effort. Chapter 5 is more advanced and may be used later, when you feel the need for more debugging options, especially for larger programs.

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