I would like to advocate designing code so that it is easier to debug. When write code, we thinking about many different things:
- What edge cases am I missing?
- How will this code perform?
- How readable is this code?
But most programmers, even really good programmers, don’t think debugging while writing their code.
Here are a few tips:
- Use lots of explaining variables (http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?IntroduceExplainingVariable). You can easily change the value of the explaining variable under the debugger. You can inspect the value of the variable before it goes into the next function.
- Don’t call multiple non-trivial functions from the same statement. If I have:
It becomes a pain in the butt to pick which function to step into. It is also difficult to inspect the return value, and change it if necessary.
- Don’t use IfFailGo(Func()). IfFailGo is fine, but divide it up into two statements:
hr = Func();
- Prefer inline functions to macros. The C++ compiler doesn’t include macros in the PDBs, but inline functions are still there, and you can step into them or func eval them.
- Prefer enums to #defines or GUIDs. The debugger can give you the human comprehendible version of enums, but never #defines, and only sometimes GUIDs. Clearly sometimes you don’t have a choice, but if you do, enums are great.
- Use actual types instead of VOID*/cast