Debugging 101

By | April 21, 2006

Recently, a colleague and I were working together to resolve a bug in a piece of code she had just written. The bug resulted in an exception being thrown and looking at the stack trace, we were both puzzled about what the root cause might be. Worse yet, the exception originated from within an open source library we were using.

As is typical of open source products, the documentation was sparse, and wasn´t providing us with very much help in diagnosing the problem before us. It was beginning to look like we might have to download the source code for this library and start going through it – a prospect that appealed to neither of us.

As a last resort before downloading this source code, I suggested that we try doing a web search on the text of the exception itself, by copying the last few lines of the stack trace into the search field for a web search engine. I hoped the search results might include pages from online forums where someone else had posted a message like “I´m seeing the following exception, can anyone tell me what it means?”, followed by all or part of the stack trace itself. If the original poster had received a helpful response to their query, then perhaps that response would be helpful to us too.Read Full Story

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