In few words, debugging is a process of identifying and eliminating coding errors. It is what you do after a successful test case has been executed. Bear in mind, that a successful test case is one that demonstrates that the program doesn’t do what it was intended to do. The debugging process starts when an error is detected because of successful test case and is performed in two steps:
- the determination of the true nature of the suspected error and its location in the program;
- the error is fixed or corrected.
Debugging is an integral to program testing and the only part of the software production process which the programmers dislike a lot. These are probably the main reasons:
- Ego may stand in the way. The alternative is “impersonal programming” avoided by many programming specialists. They often find it psychologically difficult to do such a work, because debugging proves that they are not perfect at all as they often make mistakes in the design and coding of programs.
- You may work yourself to a frazzle. Of all the software production activities the debugging is the most mentally demanding process. Moreover, the activity is usually carried out under tremendous organizational or internal pressure /stress to correct a suspected error as fast as possible.
- You may take the wrong road. Debugging is mentally demanding because any error you have found may occur virtually in any statement within the program. Specifically, without investigating the program first, it is theoretically impossible to be totally sure that, for instance, the numerical errors in paid checks issued by the payroll program are not issued in a subroutine that requests the operator to load a peculiar form into the printer. This is not at all like debugging of a physical system, such as an autocar. If the automobile stops unexpectedly when moving up an incline (this is the symptom), then you can immediately and completely exclude parts of the system as the cause of its malfunction (for example, the FM/AM radio, speedometer, lock bar). There may be problem in the engine, and based on the general knowledge of the car engine, you can exclude the engine’s specific components (water pump and oil filter).
- You may use your own way or be on your way. In comparison with other stages of software development, relatively poorly research, the literature and formal control and instructions exist on debugging activity.
By the way, debugging and testing are closely related. Of the two aspects of debugging process such as locating the error and fixing it, the first one represents up to 95% of the problem. Therefore, you need to concentrate on locating the error, provided that a successful test case has found one. If you want to redirect energy, cut costs, more efficiently and effectively use technology and resources and, most importantly, focus on your core activities outsource qa to Ukrainian quality assurance specialists. They will perfectly do the most complicated work for you and this will benefit your project.