5 Debugging Techniques To Speed Up Bug Fixes in Production

Best Debugging Techniques

Building an application is one thing and providing support when its up and running is a whole different ball game with its own set of challenges. There is a team of developers assigned to the maintenance team that is responsible for fixing the bugs and errors within the application that is live and in-use by the end-users.

Handling errors within the production phase can be tricky and the production environment isn’t every developer’s cup of tea. Not to mention, oftentimes there is no documentation available and the developers are called in for troubleshooting support with them having little to no knowledge about the application.

In order to make the debugging process faster and easier, we have some techniques that can be of use.

#1 Eliminate or Automate the Configuration Process Required for the Application to Operate

Usually one has to perform configuration to get the software installed and have it up and running on a new server. Installing an application would take several steps that need to be performed manually. However, with the advancement in technology and software development, the process of getting an application to start running has become considerably easy.

With the introduction of ‘Containerization’, it has become possible to get the application running in no time without having to configure it, at all. Not to mention, since the Docker image is self-contained, the chances of stumbling into compatibility issues of the operating systems, languages, and frameworks will be greatly minimized.

#2 Don’t Over-Indulge in Various Technologies and Keep It Simple

Too much of anything is bad? It applies to technologies as well. It is tempting to make use of all the latest technologies and frameworks to drive the best results – but keep them to a minimum, so it becomes easier to maintain later on in production.

Do not add on frameworks or an entirely new language to the tech stack because of a certain requirement that may have arisen. But, in fact, make careful decisions as every new additional technology has its own impact and may become incompatible later on. Not to mention the security concerns and vulnerabilities that you are inviting by adding on more frameworks and such.

Such dependencies or a complicated tech-stack should be avoided at all costs.

#3 Keep Logging Optimal

Consider logging as the document containing the information on how to resolve the production issue you are facing. Of course, before those production outages actually occur you are just assuming the possibilities. But it isn’t hard when you have the experience. So, mapping out a few possible scenarios, you can log the necessary details required to solve the very issue.

Now, in order to keep the debugging fast and easy, make sure those logs contain precise and exact information and not be filled by unnecessary details that only lead to confusion.

#4 Replicating Customer Issue Should Be Easy

Since we are discussing how to make the production debugging easy; we need to consider the fact that whenever a customer or user is faced with an issue, replicating that issue on the developers’ end takes the majority of the time as compared to troubleshooting it. How? Well, the developer more often than not, has to guess what the customer did in order to encounter the issue through simulation. Not to mention, the customer explains the issue in layman terms that the developer then has to translate into technical terms in order to find the exact fault.

The problem becomes bigger when the developer handling the production bug is not even well-versed with the application. So, the said person in charge of removing the bugs may be lacking the knowledge to ask the right questions to the customer in order to get to the bottom of the issue quicker.

For this, there should be a tool to import necessary records from the production database to simulate the situation customer is in, whilst maintaining the security of sensitive data that shouldn’t be accessible by any developer.

#5 Document All External Dependencies

It is important to make sure that all external dependencies are documented clearly within the ‘README’ file that can be found in the source control system. This documentation will allow everyone that may have to deal with the application, later on, to understand what resources are required to fully run the application properly.

If there is any resource that is optional or in case, unavailable, then suggest alternatives or solutions on how to handle the situation.

The Gist

These techniques when applied when creating a new feature or developing the application will make the lives of the production support team a breeze. Not to mention your company will be spending less time and resources in getting to the bottom of the problems – Say no application crashes and bugs!

Need a team of experts to handle those pesky errors and bugs during the production? Contact AppVerticals and let’s get to the bottom of these with the help of our diligent team of developers.

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Muniza Ashraf

Muniza Ashraf is a software engineer turned technical writer with extensive experience in various niches, especially all-things-tech. If she isn’t writing, she is researching to bring information in the best way possible.

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