Debugging, that stranger

by Luca Baldini on 06/05/2013

Last week I helped two friends sort out a few malfunctions in a program they’d developed with Instant Developer. As soon as I heard their description of the problem, the first thing that came to mind was to open the debug form in the application: once again, it was the key that made it possible to find and solve both problems.

The job of a programmer is tough: there are many factors you have to keep in mind, and there’s always something that can go wrong. That’s why my work day is normally split into two parts: developing and debugging. After developing, I check that what I’ve written works, and if I see something that’s not working, the first thing I do is investigate the problem using the debugging systems provided by the environment I’m using. If I’m developing in JavaScript, I open the JavaScript console. If a Java application doesn’t work, I analyze the Tomcat log file, and I do the same thing if I’m developing in Objective-C or programming in the Instant Developer IDE. No matter which tool I’m using to program, debugging tools are the first place I turn when something doesn’t work the way I expect. After retrieving the information and searching Google to see if anyone has solved a similar problem, I’ll often find advice on how to get around the problem.

That’s why applications produced with Instant Developer have their own integrated debug module in addition to the classic step-by-step debug system in the IDE. It’s a very powerful tool that allows you to analyze the complete execution history of the application, down to each individual line of code, and also saves the historic values of the variables in context.

Caravel also has its own log. If an offline application run in Caravel doesn’t behave correctly, try taking the following steps: before launching the application, launch the log by typing debug.on in the Caravel address bar, and when the issue occurs, write debug.log. You’ll find something interesting.

If you’ve been using Instant Developer for a short time and you see something isn’t right, open the debug form with the button provided on the upper right. As time goes by, you’ll learn how to read it, and you’ll find a lot of information that will help you solve most problems on your own. Obviously, if you haven’t found the solution, or the reason for the error is unclear, post to the forum or contact us at support: four eyes are better than two!

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