Copy and Paste Debugging

This is a computer fairy-tale for the advanced programmer. Behold the wondrous indeterminism of the computer.

Once upon a time there was a bug that wasn’t going away and the error message was cryptic. Always at the same point of the xml specification the program would stop and deliver the cryptic message.

The programmer asked another programmer what to do.

The other programmer answered: “Copy other text, it will work.”

The first programmer shook her head in dismay.

A day later she gave up and copied text from another part of the specification to replace the buggy part. She edited the copied text. Now the specification looked exactly the same as before. She ran a last test and …. if she’s still banging her head against the wall she will have a mighty head-ache tomorrow. Of course it worked.

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