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Make It Fail; Debugging

This is a sample chapter from the book Debugging, which tells you how to find out what’s wrong with stuff, quick. The book provides 9 rules and related corollaries that are universal (apply to any product or technology), essential (you need to follow them all), and fundamental (they are actually pretty simple, but easy to forget in the heat of battle).

This sample chapter describes rule #2, Make It Fail, which may be of particular interest to test engineers. You will learn why and how to make a test consistently break the system, and what information is needed from those failures to fix the bug. And you will be entertained by the humorous writing style and fun examples from hardware, software, cars, houses, and human bodies.

 

Editor's Image

Dave Agans (Senior Software Engineer for Dell EMC)

Dave Agans is a Senior Software Engineer for Dell EMC. He has designed and debugged numerous electronic and software systems in his 42-year engineering career. While an undergrad at MIT, he developed one of the first home TV games, and holds several related patents.

Since MIT he has designed consumer VLSI, handheld PCs, truck fleet terminals, industrial controls, hotel management systems, videoconferencing systems, high-voltage power supply controls, video-on-demand servers, and data storage arrays. He participated in everything from market analysis to architecture and design, implementation, and (of course) debugging. It was throughout this career that the rules described in Debugging (and posted on many cubicle walls) were created and honed. (You can download a full-color poster of the rules at the debuggingrules.com website.)

Dave recently expanded his humorous take on serious subjects in the novel The Urban Legion, a conspiracy thriller spoof.

Twitter: @daveagans

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