The Importance of Good Debugging Tools

05:29
Thu
28
May 2015

The Importance of Good Debugging Tools

Robert L. Glass wrote an interesting article "Frequently Forgotten Fundamental Facts about Software Engineering". While I am aware he is far more experienced than me and he has sources to backup his opinions, I dare to disagree with following paragraph:

T1. Most software tool and technique improvements account for about a 5- to 30-percent increase in productivity and quality. But at one time or another, most of these improvements have been claimed by someone to have "order of magnitude" (factor of 10) benefits. Hype is the plague on the house of software.

I think that having good tools is one of the most important (and sometimes underrated) factors in programmers' efficiency. From comfortable chair, through fast desktop PC, big monitors, fast Internet connection, to good software, including IDE (editor, compiler, debugger etc.) and auxiliary applications (like Total Commander for file management) - they can all make big difference in how developers feel about their job and how fast the work is going.

Of course, "tools" is a broad term. If by choosing good tools we mean changing used programming language or libraries in the middle of the project, then sure it is usually a bad idea. Writing a script to automate some task that can be done manually in just few minutes or even an hour is usually not worth doing as well.

But what is always worth investing time and money in (either buying or developing your own, learning to use them) are tools that help with debugging. As debugging is the hardest and most time consuming part of programming, any improvement in that process can make as big difference as between minutes and weeks - often in the most critical time, close to the deadline.

So in my opinion, being able to interactively debug executing program (or its trace) - to setup a breakpoint and preview current value of variables (as opposed to relying only on some debug text prints, analyzing logs or some command-line tools) is an absolute minimum to be able to call any programming environment reasonable, mature and eligible to write any serious software in it. If you are the one who writes a program and you have to treat that program as a black box while it is running, without a possibility to peek inside, then something is wrong. AFAIK that is the case with some technologies that deploy program to a server or an embedded device.

How is it in graphics programming? John Carmack once tweeted:

gl_FragColor.x = 1.0; is the printf of graphics debugging. Stone knives and bearskins.

While I share his frustration with such primitive methods of debugging, the reality of today's GPU programming is not all that bad as we could only render red pixels to see any debug information. NVIDIA Nsight offers debugging of a GPU, and so does Intel Graphics Performance Analyzers (GPA). Finally, there is a vendor-agnostic debugger for DirectX developed by Microsoft. Originating from Xbox (that is where its name comes from - Performance Investigator for Xbox), PIX used to be available for free as a standalone application. Recently, they have integrated it as part of Visual Studio called Graphics Diagnostics. It was available in commercial versions of Visual Studio only and not in free Express edition (very bad news for all amateur DirectX game developers), but finally they shipped it for free together with the new, fully-functional Visual Studio Community edition.

With these tools, there is no explanation for whining "nothing renders and I don't know why" - just go debug it! :) The future also looks bright. DirectX 12 will offer Debug layer. Vulkan also claims to support debugging tools and layers and LunarG company even started working on such tool - GLAVE.

Comments (7) | Tags: debugger software engineering | Author: Adam Sawicki | Share

Comments

Sebas86
2015-05-29 23:00:24
Sadly some environments still have problem with providing working debug utils. Especialy lack of working debugger on mobile devices is the Unity weakest point. Especialy if I can compare not working debugger in Unity with native iOS utils provided by Apple (graphics stack debugger which can grab single frame and show me every step, any Open GL command called from app and current state of used buffers, memory leaks detector, power consumtion analyzer, etc.). But this still can be problem with me. I find few descriptions how to configure and run debugger in Unity on Android/iOS devices but maybe I'm just to stupid to understand this and configure all correctly. ;)
lyh
2015-06-05 04:17:05
burberry outlet, http://burberry.outletnow.net/
christian louboutin outlet, http://christian.louboutin-outlet.net/
tory burch sandals, http://toryburch.salesandals.net/
abercrombie and fitch, http://www.abercrombieand-fitch.com.co/
abercrombie and fitch, http://www.abercrombiefitch.us.com/
abercrombie, http://www.abercrombie-kids.us.com/
nike huarache, http://www.air-huarache.co.uk/
air jordan, http://www.airjordans.us/
air jordan shoes, http://www.airjordanshoes2015.com/
nike air max 2015, http://www.airmax-2015.org/
air max, http://www.airmax-90.org/
babyliss pro, http://www.babyliss-pro.net/
basketball shoes, http://www.basketballshoes.com.co/
beats by dre outlet, http://www.beatsbydrdre.co.com/
beats by dre, http://www.beatsbydre.com.co/
monster beats outlet, http://www.beats-by-dre.com.co/
beats headphones, http://www.beatsheadphones.in.net/
bottega, http://www.bottega.us/
burberry outlet online, http://www.burberryhandbags.net.co/
burberry, http://www.burberry-outlet.jp.net/
burberry outlet, http://www.burberryoutlet.org.uk/
burberry factory, http://www.burberryoutlet-online.co.com/
burberry, http://www.burberryoutlet-online.in.net/
cheap calvin kleins, http://www.calvinklein.co.com/
celine handbags, http://www.celinebags.org/
chanel handbags, http://www.chanelhandbags.net.co/
easton bats, http://www.cheapbaseballbats.net/
christian louboutin shoes, http://www.christianlouboutinshoes.ar.com/
nfl jerseys, http://www.cheapjerseys.in.net/
cheap jordans, http://www.cheap-jordans.net/
cheap michael kors, http://www.cheapmichaelkors.us.org/
nike shoes, http://www.cheap-nikeshoes.com/
cheap oakley sunglasses, http://www.cheapoakley.us.org/
cheap oakley , http://www.cheapoakleysunglasses.co.com/
cheap oakley sunglasses, http://www.cheap-oakleysunglasses.in.net/
cheap ray ban, http://www.cheaprayban.com.co/
boots on sale, http://www.cheapshoes.com.co/
cheap ugg boots, http://www.cheapuggboots.eu.com/
flat iron, http://www.chiflatiron.net.co/
christian louboutin, http://www.christian--louboutin.in.net/
louboutin shoes, http://www.christianlouboutin.org.uk/
christian louboutin shoes, http://www.christianlouboutinshoes.jp.net/
coach outlet online, http://www.coachfactory-outlet.co.com/
coach factory, http://www.coachfactoryoutletonline.co.com/
coach outlet usa, http://www.coach-handbags.com.co/
coach outlet, http://www.coachoutlet-online.com.co/
coach store online, http://www.coachoutletstore.net.co/
coach outlet, http://www.coachoutletstore-online.com.co/
chanel sunglasses, http://www.coco-chanelbags.com.co/
converse shoes, http://www.converse.net.co/
coach handbags, http://www.designerhandbagsoutlet.com.co/
eyeglasses online, http://www.eyeglassesonline.us.com/
eyeglass frames, http://www.eyeglassframes.us.com/
burberry clothes, http://www.fashion-clothing.us.com/
salvatore ferragamo, http://www.ferragamo.com.co/
ferragamo shoes, http://www.ferragamoshoes.net/
hair straightener, http://www.ghdhairstraightener.com.co/
gucci shoes outlet, http://www.gucci.me.uk/
gucci handbags, http://www.guccihandbags.com.co/
gucci factory, http://www.gucci-outlet.in.net/
gucci outlet, http://www.gucci--outlet.in.net/
gucci shoes, http://www.guccishoes.net.co/
gucci shoes, http://www.guccishoes.us.org/
hermes, http://www.hermesbags.com.co/
hermes birkin, http://www.hermesbirkin.com.co/
hermes outlet online, http://www.hermesoutlet.net.co/
hollister, http://www.hollister.us.org/
hollister clothing, http://www.hollisterclothing-store.in.net/
insanity workout, http://www.insanityworkout.net.co/
iphone cases, http://www.iphone-cases.us/
jimmy choo, http://www.jimmychoo.net.co/
jordan retro, http://www.jordanretro.org/
jordan shoes, http://www.jordan-shoes.com.co/
juicy couture outlet, http://www.juicycouture.com.co/
juicy couture handbags, http://www.juicycoutureoutlet.net.co/
kate spade, http://www.kate-spade.com.co/
kate spade handbags, http://www.katespade-outlet.com.co/
kate spade outlet online, http://www.kate-spades.com/
longchamp, http://www.longchamp.us.org/
longchamp handbags, http://www.longchamp.com.co/
louboutin, http://www.louboutin.jp.net/
louis vuitton canada, http://www.louis--vuitton.ca/
louis vuitton bags, http://www.louisvuitton.jp.net/
louis vuitton, http://www.louis--vuitton.org.uk/
vuitton handbags, http://www.louisvuitton.so/
louis vuitton outlet online, http://www.louisvuittonas.com/
louis vuitton, http://www.louisvuitton-outlet.com.co/
louis vuitton, http://www.louisvuitton-outlets.us/
marc jacobs handbags, http://www.marcjacobsonsale.com/
mcm bags, http://www.mcm-bags.net/
mcm backpack, http://www.mcmhandbags.com.co/
michael kors, http://www.michaelkors.so/
cheap michael kors, http://www.michael--kors.us.com/
michael kors bags sale, http://www.michaelkorsbags.us.org/
michael kors, http://www.michaelkorshandbags.org.uk/
michael kors outlet online, http://www.michael-kors-handbags.us.com/
michael kors outlet, http://www.michaelkorsoutlet.ar.com/
michael kors outlet, http://www.michael-kors-outlet.us.org/
michael kors outlet online, http://www.michaelkorsoutlet-online.ar.com/
michael kors outlet online sale, http://www.michael-kors-outlet-online.us.org/
michael kors outlet store, http://www.michaelkorsoutletonline-sale.us.com/
michael kors uk, http://www.michaelkors-uk.org.uk/
mont blanc pens, http://www.montblanc--pens.net/
new balance, http://www.newbalance-outlet.org/
nike air max, http://www.nike-air-max.us/
nike factory, http://www.nikefactory.org/
nike free, http://www.nikefree5.net/
nike free run, http://www.nikefree-run.net/
nike free, http://www.nikefree-run.org.uk/
air jordans, http://www.nike-jordanshoes.com/
nike mercurial, http://www.nikemercurial.net/
nike roshe, http://www.nikerosherun.us/
nike outlet store, http://www.nikestore.us/
north face, http://www.northface.us.org/
north face clearance, http://www.northfaceoutlet.com.co/
oakley outlet, http://www.oakleyoutlet.us.org/
oakley sunglasses, http://www.oakley-sunglasses.us.org/
oakley sunglasses cheap, http://www.oakleysunglassescheap.in.net/
oakley sunglasses, http://www.oakleysunglassesoutlet.com.co/
omega watches, http://www.omegawatches.us.com/
pandora charms, http://www.pandora-charms.org.uk/
pandora jewelry, http://www.pandorajewelry.com.co/
polo outlet, http://www.polo-outlets.com/
prada outlet, http://www.pradahandbags.net.co/
prada handbags, http://www.pradahandbags.com.co/
prada outlet, http://www.pradashoes.com.co/
ralph lauren uk, http://www.ralph-lauren.org.uk/
polo ralph lauren outlet, http://www.ralphlaurenoutlet.us.com/
ralph lauren, http://www.ralphlauren-outlet.org.uk/
ralph lauren shirts, http://www.ralphlaurenoutletonline.com.co/
ralph lauren outlet, http://www.ralphlaurenoutletonline.in.net/
polo ralph lauren, http://www.ralphlaurenpolo.in.net/
ray ban outlet, http://www.ray-ban-outlet.us.com/
ray bans, http://www.raybans.us.org/
ray ban sunglasses, http://www.rayban-sunglasses.org.uk/
ray-ban sunglasses, http://www.rayban-sunglasses.us.org/
ray ban sunglasses outlet, http://www.raybansunglassesoutlet.net.co/
ray ban wayfarer, http://www.raybanwayfarer.in.net/
replica handbags, http://www.replicahandbags.com.co/
rolex watches, http://www.replicawatches.us.com/
retro jordans, http://www.retro-jordans.com/
rolex watches, http://www.rolex-watches.me.uk/
nike roshe, http://www.rosherun.org.uk/
roshe run, http://www.rosheruns.us/
salvatore ferragamo, http://www.salvatoreferragamo.in.net/
soccer shoes, http://www.soccer-shoes.org/
baseball bats, http://www.softball-bats.us/
supra shoes, http://www.suprashoe.net/
swarovski crystal, http://www.swarovskicrystal.com.co/
swarovski jewelry, http://www.swarovskijewelry.com.co/
swarovski, http://www.swarovski-uk.org.uk/
the north face, http://www.the-northface.com.co/
the north face jackets, http://www.the-northface.in.net/
north face, http://www.thenorth-face.org.uk/
north face outlet, http://www.thenorthface.us.org/
north face outlet, http://www.thenorthfacejackets.in.net/
thomas sabo, http://www.thomassabo-uk.org.uk/
tiffany and co, http://www.tiffanyandco.net.co/
tiffany jewelry, http://www.tiffanyjewelry.us.org/
timberland outlet, http://www.timberlandboots-outlet.net/
timberland boots, http://www.timberland-shoes.com/
tommy hilfiger outlet, http://www.tommyhilfiger.net.co/
tommy hilfiger kids, http://www.tommy-hilfigeroutlet.com/
toms shoes outlet, http://www.tomshoesoutlet.com/
toms outlet, http://www.toms-outlet.in.net/
toms shoes, http://www.toms-shoes.com.co/
tory burch outlet, http://www.tory-burch-outlet.in.net/
tory burch outlet, http://www.tory-burchoutlet.us.com/
true religion, http://www.true-religion.com.co/
true religion jeans, http://www.truereligionjeans.net.co/
true religion outlet, http://www.truereligion-outlet.com.co/
ugg australia, http://www.uggaustralia.net.co/
ugg boots, http://www.uggboots.net.co/
ugg boots clearance, http://www.uggbootsclearance.com.co/
uggs on sale, http://www.uggsonsale.com.co/
uggs outlet, http://www.uggsoutlet.com.co/
coach outlet, http://www.uptocoachoutlet.com/
vans shoes, http://www.vansshoes.us/
wedding dresses, http://www.weddingdressesuk.org.uk/
yoga pants, http://www.yogapants.com.co/
ugg boot sale, http://www.ugg-boots.us.org/
polo ralph lauren outlet, http://www.poloralphlaurenoutlet.net.co/
burberry outlet online, http://www.burberryoutletonline.ar.com/
toms outlet, http://www.toms-outlet.net.co/
michaelkors.com, http://www.michaelkors.in.net/
christian louboutin, http://www.christianlouboutinoutlet.net.co/
tory burch sale, http://www.toryburchsale.com.co/
prada outlet, http://www.pradaoutlet.com.co/
longchamp handbags, http://www.longchamp-handbags.in.net/
longchamp outlet, http://www.longchampoutlet.com.co/
chanel bags, http://www.chanel-bags.com.co/
true religion outlet, http://www.truereligion-outlet.us.org/
abercrombie and fitch kids, http://www.abercrombie-and-fitch.us.com/
hollister clothing, http://www.hollisterclothing.in.net/
new balance shoes, http://www.newbalance-shoes.org/
converse shoes, http://www.converse--shoes.net/
lululemon outlet, http://www.lululemonoutlet.in.net/
nfl jerseys, http://www.nfl-jerseys.in.net/
cheap jerseys, http://www.cheapjerseys.us.org/
rolex watches, http://www.rolex-watches.us.com/
rolex watches for sale, http://www.rolexwatchesforsale.us.com/
p90x workout, http://www.p90xworkout.in.net/
giuseppe zanotti, http://www.giuseppezanotti.com.co/
mac cosmetics, http://www.maccosmetics.net.co/
instyler ionic styler, http://www.instyler.in.net/
mizuno wave, http://www.mizunorunning.net/
designer handbags, http://www.handbagsoutlet.com.co/
tommy hilfiger, http://www.hilfigeroutlet.in.net/
ed hardy, http://www.edhardy.in.net/
levi's jeans, http://www.levisjeans.com.co/
bcbg max, http://www.bcbgdresses.net/
bebe dresses, http://www.bebeclothing.net/
harrods, http://www.harrods-london.co.uk/
gucci outlet, http://www.guccishoes.com.co/
ralph lauren outlet online, http://www.ralphlaurenoutletonline.us.org/
tamara
2015-06-14 13:36:32
You can not imagine how much time I devote to this information. Thanks!
http://www.mafagames.info
Packers and Movers Bangalore
2015-07-19 15:08:58
nice post us website packers and movers Noida Visti site:-
Packers and Movers Hyderabad@ http://professionalmovers.in/packers-and-movers-in-hyderabad/
Packers and Movers Noida@ http://professionalmovers.in/packers-and-movers-in-nodia/
Packers and Movers Bangalore@ http://professionalmovers.in/packers-and-movers-in-bangalore/
Packers and Movers delhi@ http://professionalmovers.in/packers-and-movers-in-delhi/
fashion pandora jewelry
2015-09-23 05:34:58
This post is worthy of appreciation, looking forward to more exciting! http://www.cheapandora.com/
pandora charms online store
2015-09-23 05:35:56
Wow, perfect. Fortunately, I found your website!
Thanks for sharing! <a href="http://www.cheapandora.com/pandora-rings-c-3/">pandora charms online store</a>
Toms Shoes Outlet Online
2016-01-04 04:45:36
http://www.oakleysunglassesoutlet.name/ Oakley Sunglasses Outlet
http://www.oakleyoutletstore.net.co/ Oakley Outlet
http://www.raybanoutletstoresonline.net/ Ray Ban Outlet
http://www.ray-bansunglasses.top/ Ray-Ban Sunglasses
http://www.tomsoutletstore.org/ Toms Outlet
http://www.ralphlaurenoutletstoreonline.com/ ralph lauren outlet
http://www.katespadeoutletsstore.com/ Kate Spade Outlet
http://www.air-max2015.org/ air max 2015
http://www.uggoutlets.net/ Uggs Outlet
http://www.adidasoutletstore.org/ Adidas Outlet
http://www.cheapraybansunglasses.org/ cheap ray ban sunglasses
http://www.yeezyboost350.us.com/ Yeezy Boost 350
http://www.nikeoutletsstore.com/ Nike Factory Outlet
http://www.yeezyboost.org/ Yeezy 350
http://www.timberlandoutlet.com.co/ Timberland Outlet
http://www.cheapuggbootsclearance.org/ Cheap Ugg Boots
http://www.longchampoutletstore.us.com/ longchamp outlet
http://www.katespade-outlet.org/ kate spade outlet
http://www.oakleysunglassescheap.net.co/ cheap oakley sunglasses
http://www.uggboots-clearance.com/ Ugg Boots Clearance

Post comment

Nick *
Your name or nickname
E-mail
Your contact information (optional, will not be shown)
Text *
Content of your comment
Calculate *
(* - required field)
STAT NO AD [Stat] [Admin] [STAT NO AD] [pub] [Mirror] Copyright © 2004-2016 Adam Sawicki
Copyright © 2004-2016 Adam Sawicki