Rubber duck debugging

I started a new job about a month back where I develop web apps to teach high school science concepts, and I must say that I like it very much. It’s hard work, but I am learning a lot, and getting “curiouser and curiouser” by the day.

Besides the debugger on a web browser, I’ve started using this interesting idea of “Rubber duck debugging”[1] while I code, and it helped me solve one or two bugs that I couldn’t solve with the traditional debugger. It’s rather interesting actually, and how it works is that you explain your program line by line to a rubber duck that you place near your laptop. I mostly isolate the section of code that I think is problematic and then use the technique.

I guess it’s mostly just talking your program out for the especially lonely, but it really amuses me, and I’ve started using it more and more often. I use my handy Mallard stress ball instead of a rubber duck, so I haven’t had a chance to name my programming-confidant yet. Maybe it’s time to get a new toy.

[1] – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubber_duck_debugging

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