[RAD stands for Ruby Ape Diaries, of which this is part IX.] Ruby’s debugging facilities, compared to what IDE users like me are used to, are, well... sincere. At one point during the Ape work, I had a bug that was really driving me crazy. The symptom was that my HTTP interaction with the server would just freeze up, and I couldn’t spot the pattern behind it. It’s a fact of protocol-testing life that this particular kind of shit happens. Sometimes you’re reduced to debugging with print statements, and I was. But after a while they weren’t helping me, I was calling Net::HTTP#start on an apparently-valid connection and then... nothing. Eventually, I was driven to looking in the library source, net/http.rb. Hey, it was easy to understand! (Have I talked about Ruby and readability before?) I could see where my request was going, but I couldn’t see how it could go wrong. Well, this is a dev machine, and Real Men debug with print statements. So in they went... right into the Ruby distro libraries, I mean. And I ran it again. Only took a couple of minutes to zero in the problem; in this case, a JRuby bug. I’m not sure what the lesson is... but the code spelunking was frighteningly easy. This is not typical of other peoples’ HTTP libraries; I have bitter memories of bashing my head to a bloody pulp against LWP back in the last millennium. Did I mention readability? [Ed. Note: You’ll be happy to hear that there are only a couple more RAD entries in the pipeline, then I’ll be done.]

author · Dad · software · colophon · rights
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August 28, 2006
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