What’s a bug?
A bug is a logical flaw in the software’s code that results in the program not working as intended or not working at all. The error cannot be detected by a syntax check.
“Bug” is the English word for “bug”. In the IT area, it describes non-functioning systems. The roots of this use go back to the 19th century. Thomas Edison coined the term because bedbugs actually interfered with the functionality of some of his inventions.
For computers, the term came up again in the 1940s. Again, it was real insects that caused malfunctions. The use became so entrenched. In the meantime, bug has become a synonym for a special software error.
Indicator of a bug
- faulty software code
- Program does not work as expected or does not work at all
- The compiler does not find the error during the syntax check
- “Human problem”, for example by typing
- Often occur as a runtime error (“Runtime Error”)
Bugs can have serious consequences
Program errors can sometimes have serious consequences. For example, a logical mistake can prevent security measures from working as intended. In the past, bugs in tools for search engine optimization ensured that exactly the opposite of what was wanted was achieved. It is therefore essential that bugs are found and eliminated as quickly as possible.
Help with eliminating program errors
The elimination of program errors is called a “bug fix”. In the past, people were largely left to their own devices. Developers had to scan the code for problems with the naked eye. However, at some point this was no longer feasible.
Overall, software has developed steadily, and the code has become correspondingly long. Even if the developers know where to look, it is not uncommon for thousands of lines to be checked. This is why automatic debuggers have been developed – they already have their function in their name: They find appropriate errors and correct them.
Debuggers are able, for example, to execute the code line by line and thus draw attention to weak points. At the same time, debuggers observe the overall behavior of the program. This applies to variable values and other functions, for example. If there are any abnormalities here, the developers will be informed.
However, even debuggers quickly reach their limits. It can be the case, for example, that a completely different section than the one currently being investigated leads to the program error. The debugger cannot find out. That is why there are now numerous tools for general code analysis as well as extensive test routines. Automated tests go through function by function.
Auxiliary software is still in its early stages
Although the auxiliary software for finding and fixing bugs has become better and better, the development is still at the very beginning. This has to do with the multitude of programming languages, development environments and new technical possibilities. For example, the Internet of Things means that code has had to be rethought. Because of this, it remains a difficult task to quickly identify and fix bugs. This will probably not change in the near future.