Derik Whittaker



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Logging Bugs: Do's and Don'ts

All software that is being developed WILL have bugs, sorry, but this IS a fact.  Now I know some people and companies don't like to call them glitches in software bugs.  They would rather call them issues or defects.  For all I care we can call them 'WizBangs', just call them something and LOG THEM.

However, logging 'WizBangs' (ok, I will call them bugs from here on) is not as simple as it may sound.  I would like to go over some of MY Do's and Don'ts in this post.  If you don't like my list, or would like to add to it, drop me a line.

When to log Items:

  • Do log everything.  Just because the bug may seem trivial or simple or only happen 'every now and again' does not mean that it should be ignored.  Even it you are not sure it is an issue, LOG IT.  Better to have close off an non-issue then fail to report a major bug in hiding
  • Don't assume that someone else is going to fix the issue.  Also, don't assume this issue is too trivial or minor to report.  Wouldn't it suck to find out after the application went lived that you failed to report a critical bug because you thought it was not a 'big deal'?

Providing information on the log:

  • Do provide detailed information about the bug.  Save yourself the headache later and provide as much information as you possible can.  This should include, but not limited to items such as Build Version, Environment, Platform, Short Description of issue, Severity, Detailed steps to reproduce.
  • Don't make provide a single sentence that says something like 'Unable to perform XYZ in the ABC process'.  This type of information will provide nothing of real value to the next guy.  Sure, this would be a great line for the title of the bug.  But by no means is this enough information to fix the bug.

What types of items to log:

  • Do Log Everything.  Enough said
  • Don't make assumptions

When to log bugs:

  • Do log them as soon as possible.
  • Don't put it off.  If you dont log the bug as soon as you find it you WILL forget something about what you did to cause it.  For the sake of your fellow co-workers log it now before you forget.

The plain and simple truth about logging bugs is, it sucks!!!!  However, it is a necessary part of most developers jobs.  If you take some time and put in a little effort, you will be rewarded with great riches.  Ok, maybe not great riches, but it will make fixing the bugs much easier.

Till next time,

kick it on

Posted 08-19-2007 5:40 PM by Derik Whittaker


Comments wrote Logging Bugs: Do's and Don'ts
on 08-20-2007 7:59 AM

You've been kicked (a good thing) - Trackback from

redsolo wrote re: Logging Bugs: Do's and Don'ts
on 08-21-2007 3:36 AM

A good idea for developers is to add a unit test for the bugs together with the bug report. It is soo much simpler to start with a butg if there is a unit test that makes you dive into the code directly instead of trying to understand what the bug reporter meant. It is also nice if you have more important things to do than correct the new bug.

Derik Whittaker wrote re: Logging Bugs: Do's and Don'ts
on 08-21-2007 6:02 AM


Creating a unit test to prove the bug is a great idea as well.  That was not really what i was thinking when i was creating this post, but that would also make life easier.  Of course you should also create unit test(s) to prove you have fixed the bug as well.  But this is sometimes easier said than done.  Especially if the bug is a UI related one.

Liang wrote re: Logging Bugs: Do's and Don'ts
on 08-22-2007 2:10 PM

Throw early and log later.

Staale wrote re: Logging Bugs: Do's and Don'ts
on 10-23-2007 5:28 AM

Does anyone know of a freeware bug logging software, which is easy to use through a small network (Lan) of users. With all the necessary log categories and fields to do it right?

rajesh wrote re: Logging Bugs: Do's and Don'ts
on 12-04-2007 3:40 AM

Hi can u plz give me a detailed explanation for what is meant by loggin bugs

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