Debugging with printf() or not …

By Colin Walls – The first real debugger for embedded software, which enabled developers to see what was happening in high level language terms, was XRAY Debugger, which was released by Microtec Research in late 1986.

The timing of this release made sense, as it was just beginning to be feasible for each programmer to have their own computer. Before that, programming was largely done on paper in the first instance, and only entered on to a computer when access was available. This meant that programmers were quite careful and would “dry run” their code by hand before going anywhere near a computer. I have a sneaking suspicion that there were a few less bugs in those days, simply because time on a computer was precious and more thought was given to the code before it was entered. Nowadays, the approach of just throwing code at a debugger is all too common. more>



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