1.6. What is Debugging?ΒΆ

Programming is a complex process. Since it is done by human beings, errors may often occur. Programming errors are called bugs and the process of tracking them down and correcting them is called debugging. Some claim that in 1945, a dead moth caused a problem on relay number 70, panel F, of one of the first computers at Harvard, and the term bug has remained in use since. For more about this historic event, see first bug.

Three kinds of errors can occur in a program: syntax errors, runtime errors, and semantic errors. It is useful to distinguish between them in order to track them down more quickly.

Check your understanding

    intro-6-1: Debugging is:
  • tracking down programming errors and correcting them.
  • Programming errors are called bugs and the process of finding and removing them from a program is called debugging.
  • removing all the bugs from your house.
  • Maybe, but that is not what we are talking about in this context.
  • finding all the bugs in the program.
  • This is partially correct. But, debugging is more than just finding the bugs. What do you need to do once you find them?
  • fixing the bugs in the program.
  • This is partially correct. But, debugging is more than just fixing the bugs. What do you need to do before you can fix them?
Next Section - 1.7. Syntax errors