Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My least favorite type of bug

I think I found the type of bug that is my least favorite. 

The bug has the following characteristics:

The bug causes the whole application to fail.
The bug causes all of the unit tests to fail.
The bug leaves no explicit trace of what is failing.
The bug causes the unit tests to run (fail) slowly.

We did find the cause of the bug, it was a mismatch between a property declaration on a configuration file and a missing method on one of the class files. The corruption in the configuration file caused the application to fail slowly, quietly, and completely. It was also caused by a typo in my code.

It can always be worse though. This bug was only in my personal development environment. The bug did not cause anyone else's work to be affected.

My ideal type of failure is quick, contained, loud, and easy to find. Also, with all things being equal, I'd prefer that the failures be cause by someone other than me.

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