No More Fear from Bugs! Here’s How to Debug Code

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how to debug code

Want spooky emotions? Let me tell you your product has a bug. The code got stuck somewhere, and the product isn’t working. 

Scary, isn’t it? 

Bugs are a nightmare for most programmers. Going back to find where the bug has happened is even worse. 

However, with the right approach to debugging, you can even start enjoying the process of refining your code. If you’re interested in how to debug code so that it doesn’t turn your work into more complicated chaos, this blog is exactly what you need. 

Let’s go over the debugging process and learn its ropes together. 

We’re sure you know, but just in case… What are bugs?

A bug is an error, flaw, or mistake in a code that causes a computer program to produce incorrect results. A program with a bug might either make a result other than what is intended or not produce any result, causing an error.

What is a debugger?

A debugger is a software program that helps you find bugs by running your code under controlled conditions and observing its behavior. It allows you to execute a program one line at a time and inspect the values of variables at each step. This way, you can see exactly what your program is doing and where it goes wrong.

Debuggers can inspect the whole code once something goes wrong with the program or run different codes to check a specific function. You can also pause the code by using breakpoints to see what has already been executed and what is about to be executed.

Check debugging tools for Windows for a better insight. 

How to debug a code?

If your program got stuck, and you’re slowly getting into a panic, show yourself a “STOP!” sign. An educated, step-by-step approach to debugging will help you quickly figure out what should be improved in your code to ensure flawless program performance.

Below we list the Top 5 debugging techniques you will find extremely useful for your future projects. 

Refer to the coding community

Large programming communities, such as Stack Overflow, can be very helpful when you’re trying to debug your code. By posting your question on these forums, you’ll get access to a wealth of knowledge from experienced programmers who have likely encountered and solved similar problems.

You can also simplify the process and search your question right on Google. To find a targetted result for your query, be as specific as possible. As the most preferred option, type the error message you got without any changes in the Google bar. You might be likely enough to get a Google snippet advising you how to debug code in a couple of seconds.

Dive deep into the error messages

How are you treating the error messages you get? Do you get stressed and close them, trying to find yourself what’s wrong in the code? If yes, it’s high time to change that approach, as patiently dealing with error messages can be extremely helpful for you.

Error messages are generated by the programming language you’re using, and they often contain hints about what went wrong and how to fix it. There might be times when the error message doesn’t give you understandable information, but generally, it’s a great idea to take some time and read it carefully. If you’re still unsure what it means, don’t hesitate to search for the error message online or ask experienced programmers for help.

Refer to problem localization

When you’re trying to debug your code, it’s important to narrow down the source of the problem as much as possible. This process is known as “localization.” To localize a bug, you need to identify which lines of code are causing the error and then figure out why those lines are causing problems.

The best way to do this is to use a debugger to run your code line by line and inspect the values of variables at each step. Alternatively, you can remove code pieces to check if the error is still there. Further, when you find which piece of code is causing the issue, it’s easier to think about how to solve it.

Use print statements

If you’re having trouble figuring out what’s going on in your code, one of the simplest things you can do is add print statements to it. These statements will print out the values of variables at various points in your code, giving you a better idea of what’s going on.

You can do it by utilizing your programming language’s commands, which allow you to print values out on the console when the software is running. First, you can identify the code part that is most probably causing the error. Later, with the print statements, you can print out the values of the variables around the bug. This can take you closer to the issue causing program interruptions.

Use a log file

A log file is a document where the program automatically writes out all the information about the processes. This can be incredibly helpful for tracking bugs because it allows you to see exactly what your program was doing when the bug occurred.

It is common for many programmers not to check the log file’s documentation for debugging. Meanwhile, that’s one of the most valuable sources of information that can help identify and solve the problem. The log file records all processes, data input, and software changes. By default, it also saves the date and time of every event. Hence, if you check it regularly, you can track down when the bug started appearing.

To sum up

We know the error message is not your best view, but it’s inevitable. So, forget about stressing over bugs and concentrate on solving them as quickly as possible. 

Also, don’t forget that the best way to avoid bugs is to prevent them from appearing in the first place by writing clean and well-tested code. Test your code often and thoroughly, so you can catch bugs early on.