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Debugging
Debugging Techniques

If you have examined the code thoroughly, and you are sure the compiler is compiling the right source file, it is time for desperate measures:

1. Divide and conquer: Comment out or temporarily delete half the code to isolate an issue.

  • If the program compiles now, you know the error is in the code you deleted. Bring back about half of what you removed and repeat.
  • If the program still doesn’t compile, the error must be in the code that remains. Delete about half of the remaining code and repeat.

Tip: In most code editors, one can highlight a block of code and use the keyboard shortcut command + / to comment it out.

2. Print statements for the rescue: Use System.out.println() to check variable/return values at various points throughout the program.

A lot of the time with logic errors, there was a flawed piece of logic, a miscalculation, a missing step, etc. By printing out the values at different stages of the execution flow, you can then hopefully pinpoint where you made a mistake.

Instructions

1.

Here’s a AreaCalculator.java program that solves for the area of different shapes:

  • Triangle:
    area=12baseheightarea = \dfrac{1}{2} \cdot base \cdot height
  • Rectangle:
    area=lengthwidtharea = length \cdot width
  • Circle:
    area=πr2area = \pi r^2

There is a logical error: it is not calculating the areas right for one of the shapes. Find the bug!

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