Custom Application Development

Apr 24 2008   3:49PM GMT

Thoughts on the Elusive “Bug”

SJC SJC Profile: SJC

My last post was certainly created in the heat of the moment, and displayed I’m sure a significant amount of the angst that I was feeling at the time.  The issue that I was having has now been resolved, but it really serves as an excellent example of some of the pitfalls that can occur when developing an application.  Let me explain.

I failed to follow one of the cardinal rules of development — that of changing too much at one time.  As I understand it the procedure that I usually follow could be classified as “unit testing”.  I was suckered in by the fact that the program was a very “simple” one.  Because it was so simple, I didn’t take the time to make a change and then test for that change.  As it turns out, that was a big mistake.

I also made the mistake — because I was feeling time constraints — of not taking the time to follow my usual step-by-step procedures.  Not only was I not checking incremental changes, but I was also dealing with a situation where I was integrating third-party software into my program.  What I had not realized was that by using some old code I was in fact negating some of the functionality I was expecting.  Since this was the first time I had newly integrated this Active-X component using the latest version of my development tool — Visual Dataflex (VDF) — I was caught off guard.

Moral of the story?  Make changes in increments, test frequently, and be patient.

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