it-e-49 Program Debugging and Program Maintenance

If your program exits abnormally, then there is almost certainly a logical error (a bug) in
your program. 99% of programming is finding and removing these bugs. Here are some tips to
help you get started.
Before going on, it is necessary to reiterate the standard OLC policy on program debugging:
Do *NOT* ask OLC for help debugging a program.[1] This stock answer is intended to give you
some tips on how to get started in this area; however, in general, program debugging requires
more time and effort than consultants are usually able to provide.
The first step is to find the exact line where the program exits. One way of doing this is with
print statements scattered through your code. For example, you might do something like this in
your source code:
myplot(int x, int y)
{ printf("Entering myplot()\n"); fflush(stdout);
---- lots of code here ------
printf("Exiting myplot()\n"); fflush(stdout);
return; }
The fflush() command in C ensures that the print statement is sent to your screen immediately,
and you should use it if you're using printf() for debugging purposes.
[2] Once you have narrowed down the line where your bug occurs, the next step is to find out
the value of your variables at that time. You will probably find that one of your variables
contains very strange values. This is the time to check that you have not done the following
Assigned an integer value to a pointer variable; or
Written to a subscript that is beyond the end of an array (remember that in C array
subscripts go from 0 to N-1, not from 1 to N.)
Other mistakes also cause bugs. Make sure that your loops test correctly for their end conditions,
for example.
Other kinds of bugs (programs not exiting, incorrect output) are debugged using similar
methods. Again, find the line where the first error occurs, and then check the values of your
variables. Once you fix a bug, recompile your program, run it again, and then debug it again as

Using printf() is a primitive method of debugging, but sometimes it's the only one that will
work . If your program is too big for a debugger (such as Saber or Ddbx) or if you are working
on a non-Athena platform, you may not have a debugger available. Usually, though, it is quicker
and easier to use a debugger. Athena has several sophisticated debugging tools available. Saber is
the tool of choice for C programmers. Gdb and Dbx may also come in handy, and both of these
work with Fortran as well as with C. There are stock answers that introduce Saber and Dbx, and
Saber even comes with a tutorial.
It is a fact of life in program design but there seems to be always one last bug or error to be
corrected. We can broadly classify the errors as:
Syntax errors this class of error means that a mistake is made in the language used to
state the algorithm.
Logic errors the algorithm is syntactically correct but doesn't do what is intended.
Data range and data type errors the algorithm is syntactically correct and logically
correct but can be threatened by the wrong kind of data or by values which are out of
[3] The syntax errors aren't a serious issue during the program design phase since in practice,
after designing and testing the design, the program will be implemented in a computer program
language and it is at this point that syntax errors become a problem. Even so syntax errors are a
minor problem since the process of building the program will capture the errors. The program
simply won't build until all the syntax errors are removed.
The logic errors are a much more serious problem since there is no way to eliminate these
other than rigorously testing the program design.
The data errors are also serious errors and in some respects are harder to deal with than logic
Once launched, the program needs to be maintained. Definition for program maintenance is
that updating programs from time to time keeps abreast of changes in an organization's needs or its
hardware and software. Based on the maintenance tasks needed to be performed, the program
administrators should determine on-going financial and staffing needs and how they will be met.
Program maintenance represents a major portion of the total expenditures on application programs.


OLC“The Online Learning Center—

1, expenditures  
n. 开支,支出(expenditure复数形式)

2, staff  [stɑ:f]
n. 全体人员,同事
n. 杆,棒
vt. 配备员工

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