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David Thielen, founder of Windward Studios, has talked about software bugs for years. So have other tech geniuses. But Thielen shares an alternative view that bugs don’t just happen. Bugs are major programming mistakes that could be avoided if programmers would just check their work.
No More Software Bugs
Thielen has been advocating careful programming for 25 years. Yet it seems that programmers will not do this one little thing. But making the change would mean a radical decrease in the number of software bugs. It will also mean less devastating consequences when the occasional mistake does happen. This is great for users of the software who depend on it to keep data secure and private. But it’s also great for companies because it means they can release products earlier and not have to deal with so many issues.
First of all, we should stop using the term software bugs, according to Thielen. When we use the word bugs, it makes us think that something went wrong because outside influence. The truth is that the problem is internal, a mistake made by the programmer. Nothing the user did caused it, and no user who isn’t a programmer can fix it. And it usually takes a long time to fix a “bug” because now someone has to go back in and try to figure out what the heck was done wrong. And when you’re dealing with code, it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack. Even if you were the original programmer, it’s a huge pain to do.
So why not just be more careful and stop making mistakes? This approach seems totally legit. And more importantly, Thielen says, programmers need to recognize that these are mistakes, not bugs. This makes them stop hoping that no one will find any and start making an attitude adjustment. When they are prepared for people to find mistakes and prepared to have to fix them, it makes a huge difference. They will be more careful to begin with, and work at fixing them more heartily. Plus, they will, rather, hope that all of the “bugs” are found so that they can be fixed sooner than later. They will recognize their responsibility and own up to their mistakes.