How to Squash Bugs using Git Bisect

How to Squash Bugs using Git Bisect

How to Squash Bugs using Git Bisect. Great! But have you also used git bisect ? Imagine you have a big git repository and there is a bug in the latest version of your software. I will almost always forget git bisect exists in the moment of bug.

A Sherlock Holmes approach to catching errors in code bases.

For me, debugging comes in two different shapes: It’s either the day-to-day activities that get done during regular development or the more high-octane work related to ironing out production issues. The latter generally calls for more of a Sherlock Holmes approach in order to both identify and fix the issue. After all, it’s made it all the way to production!

In this article, I’ll showcase a battle-tested approach to efficiently identifying and fixing any silent errors (or other issues) that have snuck into the code base. I’ll finish off by illustrating three different ways to prepare the release once everything is sorted.

If you’ve been in the software development business for a while, you know it’s almost impossible to ship code that’s completely bug-free. It’s all about weighing test efforts in relation to the potential downside of a production incident. Obviously, the higher implication of a production issue, the more rigorous test efforts are needed to make sure it never happens — and vice versa. So if you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to identify and fix a bug that’s made it all the way into production, this is my suggested Holmes way of doing it.

Before we get going, humour me with a short example. Let’s say you are working on a web app that’s been live for years, where new updates get released almost on a daily basis. All of a sudden, a bug is discovered in a secluded part. From my experience, these discoveries are generally made by the product owner (usually on holiday when they should be thinking about anything but the product). The conversation goes like this:

  • PO: “Hi, I’ve just discovered a production bug in the user’s Settings section. When I try to update the email, nothing happens. As far as I can remember, it worked three weeks ago when I last used it. Can you please take a look at it?”
  • Dev: “Sounds weird, we haven’t touched that part for ages. I‘ll look into it and get back to you. By the way, shouldn’t you be on vacation?”
  • PO:“Yeah, I know… I just can’t take my eyes off this lovely app of ours!”

programming github git software-engineering

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