Groping around in the dark, that’s where I am today. The lights are on, but there is not much to see. At least that’s the way it feels when I’m debugging this nasty piece of spaghetti. There’s no one to blame but myself. I rolled this lump of pasta.
The debugger is nice, but it’s difficult to get the big picture when my data structures are huge and nested to the nth degree. I can click, click, click at the tree window and follow it to my heart’s content, but the bits I need to compare and track are at the deep outer edges. So I resort to all sorts of ‘backdoor’ debugging; writing giant messages out to the console, and then debugging changes from looking at the code to staring at my own obscure hieroglyphics. I’m sure you do it too.
So I was thinking that we (meaning you all out there) could compile some sort of compendium of secret tricks for debugging apps that are unwieldy just due to the large amounts of data and or complexity in their states.
1) Writing tons of obscure messages to the console window.
2) Abandoning all hope, avoiding the problem, blogging instead, and hoping my brain works on the problem in the background.
3) Staring at the code outside the debugger until I magically see the problem. (This actually works much of the time.)