On Monday 17 April 2006 06:28 am, Kev Jackson wrote:
> >debugger is very important to me. Isn't a debugger important in the
> >Agile approach?
>
> No a debugger isn't important for an agile approach.  Unit tests which
> can be automated are of much more value than a breakpointed debugger
> IMO.  Using graphical debugging (breakpoints, step-through/over etc)
> isslow and not worth the time it takes to learn them.  Unit tests on the
> other hand are fast, can be automated to run when you aren't at the
> computer and can be used as part of an continuous build process.
> Debuggers are not part of the Agile approach, unit tests are.  See XP [1]
>
> I'm not saying that debuggers have no value at all, but just that in all
> my time coding (ok only 9 years with six being professional), I've
> *never*/not once used one.  In java you read the stack as it's unwound,
> and trace back to see what you did wrong, in ruby I do something similar
> (should I get a failing app).  Before you get that far, you make sure
> you have unit tests, and they catch most errors for you.  Debuggers seem
> to be fully ingrained in the MS VisualStudio world, many of the java
> developers here who came over from VB still use the debugger in Eclipse,
> but it's much much slower than reading the stack trace, and without the
> test, how can you prove that that the bug has been squashed?
>

You twice mention 'reading the stack trace' in Java.  That only helps if you 
HAVE a stack trace.  Many bugs don't involve exceptions.  I'm all for unit 
tests, but sometimes a debugger is faster.  I will occaisionally use a 
debugger to see why my test is/isn't passing.  In the latter case, I'll may 
find another needed test.  Either way, it's a smell that something is too 
large and complex.  But it does help.