Debugging Zen


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This talk was excellent. Ben did a great job helping us understand the debugging mindset. Along the way he walked us through a couple of his own debugging "war stories" to put these guidelines into context. It was a great combination of ideas and guiding principles, along with some practical tools and techniques at the end. If you have an opportunity to see this talk, I highly recommend it.

Anonymous at 13:26 on 13 Sep 2014

I enjoyed the topic.

Anonymous at 13:27 on 13 Sep 2014

Great talk. Definitely need to slow down when every one else is going crazy over issues.

Really appreciate the debugger info.

I like this kind of talk very much. No hard code. No step-by-step instructions. Just lots to think about, and some useful references.

I enjoyed your talk. It resonated with me.

If you need more slides I think this could have fit in a few spots. :)

This was a unique take on a topic I've previously seen presented in other more technical albeit less-innovative ways. Ben's approach to debugging is akin to meditation before tackling a problem: find inner peace, have humility about the problem lying within your own code, and using your intuition to resolve the issue. He finished with talking about some of the various debugging tools available to PHP developers, which can easily be researched on one's own time. I appreciated hear Ben's insights and perspectives, and would recommend this talk to others in the future.

Anonymous at 14:19 on 13 Sep 2014

Really enjoyed this take on the psychology of debugging. My only critique is that I'd not do the section on tools in the future -- it was kind of rushed, and distracted from what I felt was the primary focus: habits of a seasoned developer.

Excellent talk, well organized, great slides. Ben, the book I mentioned to you is "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values" by Robert M. Pirsig. First published in 1974, this metaphysical novel has many aspects I think you'll find relevant -- it's one of my all-time favorite books!

I agree with the other commentors about the section on debugging tools -- somehow it felt out of place. There are passages in ZAMM that address that feeling, though, so read the book! :)

Some of the folks at the conference are a harder sell than me on the fundamental message of your talk, it seems. I think that the way to reach them might be by bolstering your presentation with scientific facts about the benefits of meditation, and about the whole body/mind/brain/cognition complex. I think that could provide the hard edge that the tools section might have meant for.