Debugging: Software engineering perspective

Debugging is identifying the root cause of an unexpected behavior in a software system. Beyond gdb,windbg, jsconsole etc

Debugging as a deductive process

Things to consider in production system analysis

Methods to isolate root cause without rushing to attaching debuggers

Understanding systems as permuatation of components

Factors to consider while dealing with systems with components owned by different teams

Different engineering communication channels that dictate the scope for debugging

Debugging is more than just attaching a debugger to a running program. Identifying the correct root cause is a skill. In addition, the complexity of distributed systems and multi-language stacks makes debugging even harder.

The key to a long career in software is the ability to build large systems. Large-scale systems cannot be created on a single machine using a single programming language. Hence one has to evolve into a generalist engineer to lead such efforts. Irrespective of role, understanding complexity and ability to navigate it during production fire fighting is a growth accelerator in the industry.

The course takes a generic view of workflows leading to frequently occurring debugging problems in large systems. Intentionally no tool details or deep dives are included. Instead, a guidance framework is provided for the students to explore further in their day job or software projects.

This course is for people who consider themselves problem solvers ahead of their designation and qualifications. For example, if you believe only developers should debug or only support should talk to customers, then this course is incompatible with your ideas.

Each section represents the debugging consideration for a particular scenario.

Course Outline

  • Section 1: Introduction to communication flows in the industry
  • Section 2: Ecosystem Overview
  • Section 3: Production and Maintenance
  • Section 4: Deployment
  • Section 5: Integration
  • Section 6: Implementation
  • Section 7: Conclusion

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