Towards an Understanding of the Causes of Difficulties in Debugging

Iyad Zayour, Constandinos Mavromoustakis, Bilal El-Hajj-Diab, Ahmad Rahil

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Debugging remains one of the areas that have seen little progress since the early days of programming. We argue that the academic approach of observational studies is incapable of capturing the essence of debugging in complex software. Instead, reflections by programmers may provide a better description of the debugging nature and challenges. In this article, we describe a study where we capture the reflections of programmers on thorny bugs that exemplify the major sources of difficulties in debugging. More importantly, we provide suggestions on what could have been done to avoid such thorny bugs from occurring with the same level of difficulties. As a major conclusion, we argue that the best of what can be done to alleviate debugging difficulties has to be done during early program development.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2018 International Conference on Computer and Applications, ICCA 2018
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9781538643716
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sep 2018
Event2018 International Conference on Computer and Applications, ICCA 2018 - Beirut, Lebanon
Duration: 25 Aug 201826 Aug 2018


Conference2018 International Conference on Computer and Applications, ICCA 2018


  • debugging
  • programming
  • troubleshooting
  • usability

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