Catching software bugs is a mysterious magic, unknowable by science and untouchable by process.

False! Programming bugs, like real bugs, can be organized into a taxonomy. Come with me and I'll show you how classification can help you build “programmer’s instinct” into a logical debugging process.

Debugging may be instinctual but those instincts come from seeing, identifying and diagnosing patterns. In this talk, we’ll use phenetic taxonomy to build a debugging decision making network based on attributes and behaviors of common bugs. Newer developers will learn how to apply systematic pattern matching to debugging while seasoned developers will learn how to use their instincts to teach debugging.


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Eric Poe at 17:52 on 3 Feb 2017

I really liked the extension of the metaphor into the lab notebook. This made taking the different kinds of bugs and how to resolve them easier to grasp and digest. Well done!

Colin O'Dell at 18:02 on 3 Feb 2017

I really liked the field guide / taxonomy concept - it fit the material perfectly. Kylie did a great job conveying how identifying the type of bug can guide your efforts to find and resolve it.

While the information presented was very useful, I do wish the presentation had been a little longer, perhaps with some more concrete examples or a couple other "species" to inspect.

Troy Potter at 22:45 on 3 Feb 2017

Short, but good discussion about how to classify types of bugs in code or environment.

Emily Stamey at 00:10 on 4 Feb 2017

Great knowledge of your talk and slides. You made the technical difficulties amusing anecdotes and managed to teach us some interesting new tools to solve our bug problems! I really liked the points you made about not being able to scale unicorns and felt like the bug taxonomies were a helpful pneumonic for looking at the pattern of the bug and not being stuck in the specifics.

Liviu Ifrim at 17:46 on 4 Feb 2017

Helpful and funny, Thank you.

A methodical approach to dissecting bug types and squashing them with confidence and humor. The interactive presentations was engaging. Great job Kylie!

Symeon Quimby at 12:22 on 6 Feb 2017

Absolutely loved your talk. Your use of humor to temper the normally dry subject of debugging was wonderful. At my place of employment I am one of those unscable unicorns. I'll be using notes from your talk to teach the "gut instincts" to the rest of the team when they come to ride the unicorn.

Lawrence Shea at 13:11 on 7 Feb 2017

I stomped my feet. :D