We understand Java Remote Debugging in Production is always a hectic process and it will take much time to get the issues fixed and stabilized. So, if you’re assigned to the maintenance team to work on fixing bugs in the production environment, we have compiled the 11 best Production Debugging tips and techniques that will help you find issues and fix bugs much quicker than usual.
But, wait… before getting started, let’s understand what Production debugging is and why production debugging is important in the development business.
What is Production Debugging?
Production debugging is the process of finding bugs and errors within an application during its production environment and determining the cause of the error.
This type of debugging is considered one of the challenging tasks for the developers to resolve as well since, during the production phase, it may not be possible for the development team to debug in the local environment of the application.
Why is Production Debugging Required?
All of us, from development to QA believe that the released code will never need to be debugged in production as it contains no errors or bugs.
However, we are humans, and there will be errors and bugs that we would have missed and found by end-users.
When such a problem occurs in production, replicating the problem locally is often a difficult process that can take days or weeks. Why not? In a long time, it also becomes impossible to recreate the exact environment.
Hence, having a way to debug in production is an extremely useful tool, since it eliminates the need to reproduce issues locally. Instead, you can find and resolve the problem on the running system.
11 Tips for Debugging in Production
Below are the eleven debugging tips that you can leverage to make your production debugging process faster and easier.
1. Stop Using Various Latest Technologies
It may be tempting to use the latest technologies for the best results. But remember, too much of anything is good for nothing, and it even applies to technologies.
Hence, be attentive to keep them to a minimum so that it will be easier to manage later on in production.
Don’t overindulge frameworks, technology, or a completely new language to the tech stack just for the sake that may have emerged.
All these have their own impact and may become incompatible later on. So, stop using various technologies at all costs and keep it simple.
2. Have Precise Logging Details
One of the essential tips that every developer should follow to speed up bug fixes in production is to have a precise and exact logging document that contains various information on how to resolve the production issue when it occurs. This helps you to find and fix errors in a faster way at the last minute.
But remember, when you prepare these kinds of documents, avoid filling them with unnecessary details which may mostly lead to confusion for the developers who are new to the project.
3. Have a Well-versed Production Debugging Team
It is crucial to consider the fact that these errors are usually reported by the end-user in your application when they experience them.
However, end-users never provide enough context on what caused that particular problem, but you have to understand and translate it into technical terms to find the exact fault as a well-versed developer.
In such a case, if you assign a maintenance team that is responsible for fixing the bugs and errors within the application that is not even well-versed with the application and lacks the knowledge to ask the right questions to the customer, it really becomes hard to find and fix the issue quicker.
Hence, to make your production debugging process faster and easier, it is also important to have a well-versed team to replicate customer issues, respond to queries and resolve at a faster pace.
Also Read: Beating Post-Launch Blues
4. Document All External Dependencies
It is essential to ensure that each external dependency is documented clearly within the ‘README’ file which will be found within the source system.
Having this documentation will help anyone in the future who deals with this application wants to understand what resources are required to run the application in a smooth manner.
If there’s any resource that’s optional or unavailable, then suggest alternatives or solutions on the way to handle things.
5. Eliminate Possible Causes
In order to find out exactly what the problem was, it is important to start eliminating possible problematic code.
You can comment on a code block when working in a development environment or when running a test. However, when it comes to production, you have to get a little more creative and be clear about what you’re trying to solve.
Use data to pinpoint the problem, identify the impact, and prioritize the issue. But don’t stop there – help your team understand the problem from start to finish.
6. Ensure All Software Components are Installed and Running
Before you try and fix any errors, make sure that all the software components which are responsible for the functioning of the application are installed and running.
Ensure that all changes in the code are updated to utilize the latest versions of software components. Software components may include things like database drivers, web servers, messaging servers, etc.
7. Make Good Use of Breakpoints
It is essential to place the breakpoints at the right place in the application to fasten your bug fixes in production. For instance, when debugging an issue on the Customer screen, there should be some Customer object where you can place breakpoints.
Thus, you can easily spot the breakpoints to determine whether the code is working or not.
8. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
One of the most important tips to speed up bug fixes in a production environment is to never be afraid to ask for help from your community or your co-workers.
There are times when you are worried about what others will think of you if you ask for help, which prevents you from asking for help. As a result, it will take you too long to fix bugs once encountered.
But when you ask for help from others, you may find a solution or learn something you didn’t know. Remember, it’s always a team effort to fix those bugs!
9. Run the Test Suite on all Target Platforms
This is a basic requirement for a valid bug fix. Developers should run their tests on different platforms before submitting their changes.
If some of the tests fail, then it means that there is either a problem with the code or dependencies that are being introduced with your code. Moreover, it is important to check how your application behaves on different devices, as there may be a problem specific to a certain model, architecture, or OS.
10. Always Stress Test Your Code in Production
Stress testing is nothing but you need to check what will happen in the worst scenario. While running an application do you make sure that it is not overloaded? Do you check if your application can handle all the traffic?
Do you make sure that if by any chance – such as a data center outage, or infrastructure issues – your application will keep working? Even if there is only a very slim chance it might still happen.
You should understand that the production environment is always different from testing and development environments.
11. Have a Production Debugging Tool
Last but not least, the tip to speed up bug fixing in Production is to have a debugging tool in these modern times.
Tools will automatically monitor your production application and find defects and their root cause in real-time.
So, you don’t want to perform any root cause analysis. Every failure and root cause information will be readily available, all you need to do is to review the root cause provided by the tool and fix the code in the best possible time.
Java Best production Debugging Tool: Seagence
It’s great right? If you think this is the best tip ever for debugging in Production, then without looking further, choose Seagence. It is a popular developer tool that automates defect and root cause identification in production environments.
Here’s how Seagence helps you to find defects and their root cause in real-time and make your job much simpler (i.e. your job is only to fix the code and not finding the defect and root cause of the issue)
Let’s take an example: An end-user adds items to the cart using an application, and suddenly he/she is unable to add one of the items to the cart, an error message appears.
Definitely, now the customer will report the problem to you. The big question for you now is to identify what is the root cause of this problem and how to fix it, which is a challenging task.
But to make your life easier, here’s where the Seagence comes into the picture.
Whenever a failure occurs, with Seagence you can get an alert directly to your inbox.
Opening the Alert, you can identify that this is the functioning that is failing and this is the exception stack trace that is causing the failure. At the same time, you can also see all application failures on Seagence Web.
This is Seagence’s web where you can search and see all your failures. Clicking that function will list all the failures.
Open a failure to find more debug information like query parameters, hostname, thread name and response time, etc. Including the exception stack trace that is causing the failure. You will also find steps to reproduce the defect.
Moreover, with Seagence, you don’t need to wait for the end-user to report the problem, you can fix bugs before they experience the trouble.
Sounds good right? Then why are you waiting to surprise your end-user? Sign up for a free trial today!