There are 101 "How-to code/programming" articles and posts, but there are so few quality debugging articles.

I find it odd due to the reality that programmers will spend like 20% of their time writing code and the rest of their time debugging.

On top of that, watching a program using the debugger is a popular method to learn how a new piece of code works. How many of us, when handed an new piece of code to learn: 1) Set up the debugger 2) Step through the code? Guilty as charged.

I wanted to gauge feedback before posting such a broad based question.

The reason I started gaining interest in debugging is the pain I've experienced debugging Web Apps. I have a C sharp background with mostly WPF experience(because WPF is far more fun than Winforms). Haven't done a ton of ASP.NET, though. One of the biggest turn-offs with learning ASP is trying to debug errors in server-side and runtime errors. While trying to get motivated in creating Windows Store apps in Javascript/HTML, I realized how utterly awful my debugging skills are in this area.

  • 3
    This is a totally good idea (and "how to debug" really is the answer to a huge chunk of the questions that come in every day), but what is your question exactly? What would the FAQ look like, where would it be hosted? – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Feb 17 '13 at 21:09
  • 4
    It is very broad based. Too much so. There is interactive debugging. Which is different in each IDE. There is non-interactive debugging using memory dumps. There are whole books on the subject, meaning it is not suitable. – Oded Feb 17 '13 at 21:09
  • @Pekka웃 - I believe the OP is asking whether such a question would be a suitable SO/Programmers question. – Oded Feb 17 '13 at 21:10
  • 2
    @Oded yeah. Still, arguably, specific debugging-related content like "how to debug when a CSS style sheet is not loading" (Open Firebug, check out the "net" tab, etc.) or "how to debug when a server generated image appears broken" (open Firebug, check out the "net" tab, look at the response body, etc.) would make plenty of sense. It's the only right answer for so many of the questions I see. Not sure whether SO is the right place to host them, though – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Feb 17 '13 at 21:10
  • 2
    @Pekka웃 - Sure, constrained with language/platform. Such questions would be great. But an all encompassing "how do you debug" - no so much. – Oded Feb 17 '13 at 21:11
  • What are we talking about here? A broad faq-type question on Stack Overflow? A community FAQ page here on Meta? An entry in the real FAQ of SO? – Bart Feb 17 '13 at 21:11
  • @Oded no, that wouldn't work, agreed.... I'd like to see such FAQ hosted on Stack Overflow, as something I can close new questions as a duplicate of. (A man can dream, can't he?) – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Feb 17 '13 at 21:11
  • @Bart - A community FAQ on meta would be off-topic, no? – Oded Feb 17 '13 at 21:12
  • @Oded I would say so, but the [faq-proposed] tag and the vagueness of the question don't make the proposed idea very clear. – Bart Feb 17 '13 at 21:13
  • @Oded: I'm glad I came here for feedback. I wanted to see something on SO, like [stackoverflow.com/q/2963019/614863] My experience is mostly interactive. A few times, we've gotten dumps of the PROD web server but not sure how to get the dump (I sent an email for relevant dumps and the server admins pointed me to this gigantic fileshare). – surfasb Feb 17 '13 at 21:22
  • 1
    @surfasb You might want to note that the particular question you link to is closed. Perhaps a (more narrow) tag-wiki route might be feasible? Not sure how to shape that though. – Bart Feb 17 '13 at 21:25
  • @Bart: But not deleted. I figured it is left there either for historical reasons, or because it is a good reference. I thought it was odd that there was such little emphasis on debugging, but was unsure if this should be a FAQ or better off on a different channel. – surfasb Feb 17 '13 at 21:30
  • @Bart: Right. I'm thinking maybe go though all some <tag>debugging</tag> questions and propose IDE-specific tags rather than yet another FAQ. – surfasb Feb 17 '13 at 21:34

Sure! Great idea!

You have two options:

Ask and answer your own post:


Write a question along the lines of "How can I debug a generic application", and use the 'answer your own question' tickbox.

Please try to make the question on topic. It doesn't matter how awesome the answer is; the question will be closed if it is too broad/not constructive/etc. If you want, edit a draft of the question on this meta post asking for approval.

Edit the tag wiki

You can alternatively edit it into the tag wiki for . I like this option better, though you won't get any rep (other than a +2) for your edit.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .