Friday, April 24, 2020

Black Box Debugging

Black Box debugging - finding a bug when you have no visibility into the source code.  Identifying what's going wrong by the outputs of the system when presented with various inputs.  Love it.  Most of the time you don't have access to the source code; either it's long since gone, or it's in the hands of a different team.  So - you provide a variety of inputs in a variety of patterns and observe.

From there, you take your observations and either work out a linear process of what's happening or if you are an intuitive thinker, you'll 'see' the inner workings of the code and what it's doing right - or wrong.
Screenshots are good. Even if it's just the console.

Even for the intuitive thinker, you'll need to double down and create a linear description of the issue, in each case you can create the issue, ideally with screenshots or console dumps, to provide to the developers to resolve.  That's the hard bit, at least for me.

And that was my 'Now' moment for today.  Friday, 2PM, black box debug a set of Javascript calls on a website.  No, I don't know Javascript beyond how to spell it.  No, I've never seen this website before; at least not this new section of it.  No, I didn't have access to the source code.  Nor did I have access to a developer, only a developer liaison who could give occasional garbled tips through his Apple Airpods.

(Side note - Apple Airpods do not work well with computer-based phone/video calls. Get a Plantronics UC earpiece or a Jabra 75 Headset).

Was I successful?  Yes. And an improved version of a website was made available to the customers, making wireless suck just that much less.

How was your Friday?

Your Humble Scribe,

Will England

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