Cover by Steve McConnell

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Finding a Defect

Debugging consists of finding the defect and fixing it. Finding the defect—and understanding it—is usually 90 percent of the work.

Fortunately, you don't have to make a pact with Satan to find an approach to debugging that's better than random guessing. Debugging by thinking about the problem is much more effective and interesting than debugging with an eye of a newt and the dust of a frog's ear.

Suppose you were asked to solve a murder mystery. Which would be more interesting: going door to door throughout the county, checking every person's alibi for the night of October 17, or finding a few clues and deducing the murderer's identity? Most people would rather deduce the person's identity, and most programmers find the intellectual ...

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