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DebugLive is Live February 18, 2010

Posted by Peter Varhol in Software development, Software tools.
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I wrote a few weeks ago that application debugging, far from being a solitary activity, is increasingly a team sport.  There are several reasons for this development.

1.  The pressure to deliver software more quickly is growing, cutting development and testing cycles.  Bugs have to be found and fixed faster before the application gets out the door.

2.  Multi-tier applications make it more difficult to localize a bug to an individual developer’s code.  A problem in one place can actually manifest itself visibility in a completely different component or even application tier.

3.  Sometimes an individual developer lacks the experience or expertise to tackle a particularly difficult problem.  You can argue that pulling other team members into a debugging session isn’t productive, but neither is having one person stuck on a problem.

And perhaps most important,

4.  Applications that are deployed and in productive use may have bugs that manifest themselves in networks, servers, or other parts of the computing environment.  Because it’s critical to find and fix the problem fast, you have to get everyone who has responsibility for the application and computing environment involved.

DebugLive is one of the most innovative tools I’ve seen in a long time.  It’s an online debugger for team debugging of Microsoft applications.  Conceptually the debugger part is similar to Microsoft’s WinDbg, except that you can debug your local application through a Web interface.

This beginning opens up all sorts of possibilities.  You can get multiple people, whether in the same room or across the world, to look at a memory dump or other system state information and contribute to a discussion.  You can share screen shots of error messages and user inputs as a guide to the type of error.  All of the application, server, and network professionals can place their own observations and comments online for all to read.

DebugLive is the brainchild of Donis Marshall, an instructor for Wintellect who has done more than his share of debugging.  If you have any responsibility for building, deploying, maintaining, or troubleshooting an application, take a look at DebugLive.

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