Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Debugging is A Crappy Job

My best metaphor to date that describes the relationship between programmers and debugging tools is inspired from a recent trip to McLendon Hardware (a local, smaller and characterful version of the ubiquitous Home Depot).

No matter that my only purpose in the store is to buy bulbs, conduit, paint, or whatever supplies are needed for my weekend home maintenance project; I always always always end up wandering in the power tools section. Sounds familiar? If you are a normal male, it should. Pickup trucks. V8 Engines. The Niagara processor. Power tools. Got to love them.

For those of us with a geeky side, the enumeration may also include Power Books, cool programming languages, and Turbo Compilers (some girly men may also like Emacs, floppy discs, and Windows Vista, but let that not disturb you for now).

The point is, nobody in their right mind ever goes to the local hardware store to check the new selection of plungers. Because this is the very definition of a debugger: a tool to get the nasty job done (then swiftly hidden under the sink so visitors don't see it).

So what if one day your hardware store starts selling power plungers? Maybe even reversible ones? You may end up spending more time debugging.

Release early, release often!

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