The amazing adventures of Doug Hughes

Debug or Not Debug?

We spent some time last week trying to troublshoot an issue where one user was unable to use a Flex application we developed. It was quite maddeing actaully, I was able to use the application from 4 different computers in my house using 4 different browser versions (IE 6, IE 7, FF 2 and Safari for Windows). Other people at Alagad were also able to use the application as well. The user who was unable to use the application was even able to use it when he tried from different computers in his office, but not from his normal workstation.

The culprit, as was discovered, was ColdFusion debugging. For some reason, ColdFusion debugging was interfering with one, not all, just one of the remoting calls. The odd thing is that after being alerted to this, I enabled ColdFusion debugging and I was able to use that application without issue. The user who was having problems was able to use the application after turning off debugging, and it continued to work after debugging was turned on again.

I used to keep debugging turned on all the time on my development machine, but, when I staretd doing a fair amount of Model-Glue, and other framework, development, the page load times were sometimes unbearably long and turning off debugging reduced those times drastically. Now, I only turn on debugging when I need it, and even then, its mostly to view queries that were run (or should have been run).

So, this got me thinking, is what I am doing more the norm or do most people keep dubuging enabled all the time in development?

Comments on: "Debug or Not Debug?" (6)

  1. Tom Chiverton said:

    Our/my CF is Coldspring-heavy, so suffers from very slow reload times when debugging is on, plus we’re on CF8 so can use the step debugger if we really need to look at something.
    So, yes, I keep debugging off except in fairly rare circumstances.


  2. Tom Mollerus said:

    We keep it on all the time for our development server. If it ever effects our experience, it’s more often because of layout than load time.


  3. Todd Rafferty said:

    Debugging is always on in our dev environments.


  4. Terrence Ryan said:

    Frankly, it depends.

    On my local system, I turn it on or off depending on the nature of the application I’m writing. If I’m writing a object/function heavy app, I turn it off.

    If I’m writing a simple app, I usually turn it on.

    If I’m trying to performance tune code, then I definitely use it, as it makes seeing where your time is being spent a lot easier.

    On my shared development or staging box, I have traditionally left it on, mostly to not make that choice for everyone. These boxes tend to be more powerful than my laptop, so the performance is seldom a problem.

    And of course, I never, ever, ever, ever even when tempted or bribed enable it on porduction…. Although it depends on the bribe.


  5. Adrian J. Moreno said:

    It doesn’t make much sense to me to leave it on all the time. I think I and most of my coworkers only turn it on when we’re having a problem with a particular bit of code.

    We only activate it on our Integration server or QA servers when code has promoted and something just isn’t working correctly. When it’s on in the QA environment, it tends to foul up our automated test scripts.

    Plus, when you’re working with Ajax, the inline debugging output can sometimes foul up your DOM, so you spend time looking for problems in your Javascript when the problem is with the HTML output from the debugger.


  6. tophotely said:

    If I’m trying to performance tune code, then I definitely use it, as it makes seeing where your time is being spent a lot easier.


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