Debuggers Considered Harmful?

"Debuggers are based on the idea that the code base has enough places bugs could happen that the work of locating the bug is involved enough to justify machine assistance. This is not true of well-tested code. More importantly, the whole point of [T|B]DD is that you identify the bugs before you write the code. As tools which track down bugs in existing code, debuggers presume and encourage a workflow which is exactly backwards."

- Giles Bowkett


Anonymous said...

You assume a workflow that is in many practical environments theoretical. Are you a student?

I just downloaded some open source code i need to include in my application. It comes with tests. The tests fail. I am happy to have a debugger to go through it.

Matt Blodgett said...

I'm not advocating getting rid of debuggers (I use them all the time). I just posted that quotation because I thought it was an interesting concept.

And no, I'm not a student.