Home → Magazine Archive → April 2022 (Vol. 65, No. 4) → Getting Off the Mad Path → Abstract

Getting Off the Mad Path

By George V. Neville-Neil

Communications of the ACM, Vol. 65 No. 4, Pages 25-26
10.1145/3517219

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Dear KV,

I just spent the better part of a week debugging a problem in a piece of code that required the programmer—me—to rerun the same 100 lines of code, adding more and more debugging statements until the bug finally revealed itself. Since this particular code was in a serverless environment, a traditional debugger was not an option. Instead, I had to fire off the function, over and over and over and over again. Eventually, my eyes would glaze over, and I would get up, walk around my home office, and sit down to start all over again. I somehow cannot believe that this is the right way to attack a problem like this, but when I asked other members of my team for help, they told me that tedium was to be expected. Clearly that cannot be so, can it?

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