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Intelligent eCard development journal - debugging diary

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Erin Margot Masterson

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[color=#4b0082][font=Tahoma]The second week of June 2014, I am debugging an eCard application in Flash Actionscript 3.0, where the goal is to superimpose dynamic text on a specific purpose (including fonts).[/font][/color]

[color=rgb(0,0,0)][font=Tahoma][color=#4b0082]The first few hundred errors were mostly related to typing errors, since it it a long program, but some were also illegal coercions to other types, usually when I had attempted to employ function arguments of a different type than their execution. I fixed many mismatched return statements, missing return statements, missing argument types, and missing output types. The compiler error window generally showed me series of errors for each class one-by-one, although a few of the errors were involving relationships between the classes, especially when I thought I was going down the home stretch after 2 days on 1500 lines of code.[/color][/font][/color]

[color=rgb(0,0,0)][font=Tahoma][color=#4b0082]At around 12:40 on June 12, 2014, I eliminated all of the errors. My Hello World! test worked out and outputted just fine, but there was still a problem or two, and the superimposed text would not appear. The issue was with a null object related to properties or methods in three different methods. I was taken aback at first, but realized easily that I had to attend the classes upon the order of their dependency on one other, which is common, I think, in debugging practice. That is to say, one method called another and that called the third, so I should go in reverse 3, 2, 1. I found that I was missing some type definitions in my parameters, and when I corrected that, I found that it was throwing three more errors related to the content in that function. I was pleased. Normally those problems in the function should have been detected instantly, which meant I had just opened up a door to code that had been blocked off.[/color][/font][/color]

[color=rgb(0,0,0)][font=Tahoma][color=#4b0082]Still had the same problem. I decided to enter Debug mode. I hadn't used it before, but hoped it would show me what line my error was at, and turns out it did. I thought at first it was a problem with the "this" keyword, but that didn't make sense, since the keyword should be able to be used freely throughout the class to reference itself. So, that eliminated, I looked at the variable I was assigning this's properties to, and sure enough, they weren't initialized. One more runtime error I corrected: a dot had to be replaced with a + sign after migrating to Actionscript. Then it worked perfectly, and the words appeared on the movie dynamically! Still there were some type-mismatch glitches and grammar in the text itself was improved by me, as well.[/color][/font][/color]

[color=rgb(0,0,0)][font=Tahoma][color=#4b0082]New: I tried to compile my UnityScript (Javascript) for my game and got this syntax error: BCE0044: expecting :, found ','. I fixed it by removing a bracket and adding whitespace on the sides of my colons. Then I got this error: BCE0044: expecting ], found ':'. I corrected this and several others by inserting a missing key and curly bracket before it. BCE0044: expecting }, found 'funnySerious'. (Missing comma.) BCE0044: expecting }, found 'name2'. (Added missing concantenation operator.) Next I replaced a concantenation operator with a comma. Removed a curly brace. After some time, I got rid of the syntax errors, and the regular errors began to appear. I had an error involving trying to concantenate into an Object with += and I corrected this by declaring the type of the brackets as an Array and using the push method. I replaced some properties references with brackets and keys in quotes, fixing some "is not a member of 'Boo.Lang.Hash'" errors.[/color][/font][/color]
[color=rgb(0,0,0)][font=Tahoma][color=#4b0082]I progressed through a great deal of restructuring of my code, moving from arrays to Lists when the compiler interpreted my arrays containing a specific type as Object.[/color][/font][/color]

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