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Liuqahs15

Is using a debugger lazy?

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Yes, using a debugger is lazy. But lazy is good. I'm lazy.
Though it might make you think lazily, and that's not good. Edited by patrrr

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Tools like debuggers help to shift through all the noise and pin point whats breaking and blowing up. That's not "lazy", that's being "smart".


When I said something along these lines to him, his reply was "What you call smart, I call lazy."

To be completely fair, I told him that using a debugger helped me with a lot of null references when I was trying to handle data from files that somehow never loaded up during runtime (something I've always thought was a fairly common, small mistake people make), and his response was that those situations rarely arise for him. To me that seems like a questionable claim, but again, I'm just a beginner. Furthermore, he said that he just uses error messages to let him know whenever something goes wrong. But isn't that in itself a flawed idea to begin with? Since you only put error messages where you expect errors to occur, when a problem pops up in an unexpected place your error messages won't mean anything.

In these situations I struggle to know when to be adamant about my point or open about the fact that I could be totally wrong.

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He's either the type of professor who hasn't written any significant code in the last 10 years, he's out of his mind, or he was pulling your leg.


If he's recently practiced, sane, and not joking, then run--don't walk--to the nearest exit, and get the hell out of dodge.


I'm only half joking.

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More seriously, he's right that you should not rely on the debugger to check your program unless it's really so complicated that you can't keep it in your head.

Before you start laying down code, you should already have a mental model of how it works -- you never just start throwing down code you think works, and then pop into the debugger to tweak it piecemeal until it works. In short, you should strive to understand the code before you ever write it down. It sounds like you're a beginner, so this skill will develop and grow over time.

In the mean time, the debugger can be an invaluable tool in your own exploration of how code works (when you read others' code) and it's always a good tool for fixing errors that you just can't seem to reason out -- That's why they were created in the first place. People mess up, no one's infallible, not even Professor Bighead.

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