Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Programmable duck

Quite surprised when I discovered that not all programmers know what a duck actually is. Well I offer my definition, and some duck-hunting tips.
duck noun : Debugging tool; A peer who can listen and perhaps even read code over your shoulder. The duck simply peers over your shoulder and listens intently nodding at intervals while you explain the places your think the bug is lurking. The duck forces the debugee to travers all of the code, and not just the area where the bug is. Clucking quitely is acceptable, but the duck need not actually say anything. Eventually you spot your own bug.

The best ducks are usually junior programmers or peers who are bored. The duck must never try to find the bug for themselves. The duck should enter the workspace of the debugee and anounce themselves with a quack, anything more may be counter-productive. Ducks may offer suggestions on other bugs they found only after the core bug is sorted-out.

Speaking of hunting tips, anyone have job-hunting tips for work in the UK?

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