KITL First.

When I was in college learning C programming, they told us there was a debugger we could use, but I rebelled against it.  I could debug perfectly well with printf() and my wits.  Besides, I was only getting 4 hours of sleep a night; I didn't have the time to learn how to use it.  Well college is not real life and I would not be caught dead without a debugger now.

Now I see people ask questions on the newsgroups and my answer is:  Look at the debug output!  Set a breakpoint!  Look at the callstack!  Step through some code!  Check your variables!  Oh, we don't have KITL.  We don't have time to set it up.

When I was a kid, I had a pretty stupid joke book.  I thought it was funny at the time.  There is only one joke I can remember now; it has always stuck with me.  And it applies here.

A man sees his neighbor frantically running down the street pushing his bicycle.
"Why don't you get on your bike and pedal?" he asks.
The neighbor puffs back, "I can't, I haven't got time!"

That is how I feel when people ask for help but say they can't take the time to use a debugger.  They're not exactly encouraging me to spend my time helping them debug.  John Eldridge coined the phrase, "KITL First, Ask Questions Later!"  It is repeated enough in the Windows CE community that it has become common knowledge, I think.  Love it.  Live it.  I do.

I do take pity on our application developers and other folks who have no chance to use KITL.  But OEMs -- if it's too hard to set up KITL, then tell Microsoft so we make it easier!  But don't skip it!

Okay, enough negativity, back to work...  🙂

Comments (3)

  1. Eddon says:

    You’re right. But, why not ask people what is the problem making they dislike setting up KITL? If it is a very easy work. Sorry that, but I must said the root causer is obscurely document from Microsoft. The time people spend is trying, trying, and trying. "KITL first" is a big slogan in people’s mind many years. But, it really a bad dream in the first night. This is the reason why people don’t like set up KITL. Can we said, "Update KITL document first" or "Simplize KITL first"?

  2. ce_base says:

    Fair enough.  Can you provide more details about what is hard, what we need to simplify or document better?



  3. Dan McCarty says:

    Good post.  It reminds me of the story about the guy who couldn’t be bothered to stop chopping and sharpen his axe.  "Can’t you see how busy I am chopping down this tree!" he said…

Skip to main content