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Importance of a Programmer Debugger in Software Development

If you understand programming, you must have come across or heard “debugging.” It is a process usually carried out in computer programming. A programmer debugger identifies a problem and corrects the problem or look for ways to work around it.

Software engineers and developers often rely on debugging as it helps them detect and correct errors in a program. It is just like testing which determines the impact of an error on a program. However, there is a difference between debugging and testing. Debugging helps to determine why a program misbehaves.

What is a Programmer Debugger?

A programmer debugger tests and detects any bugs, i.e errors in programs. This software program is usually incorporated by programmers to carry out test on a program and detect any bug. Programmer debuggers can integrate instruction-set stimulators, instead of running a program for a level of control over their execution.

Therefore, debuggers stop a program based on certain conditions. Simulators can reduce execution speed of a debugger. The majority of debuggers can execute programs one step at a time. Also, while running some programs, they can change their state. A debugger enables you to view the state of execution and data of an application.

A programmer debugger can help users to determine the flow of a program, the creation of variables, calculations made, and the data stored in every variable. With a debugger, you can easily view another program and detect incorrect code. You can use a debugger to detect any semantic errors in a program. Although a debugger can be a bit difficult to use, it helps to minimize the time you need to make a program perfect.

What is Debugging?

PCBA Programmer Debugger
PCBA Programmer Debugger

Debugging is a procedure in computer programming which entails detecting and correcting errors in programs or a website. These errors are what we know as bugs. Identifying the reason behind a bug can be very difficult. Also, you need to develop strategies to correct the bugs or prevent such from happening in the future.

Debugging is a crucial process that helps programmers determine the cause of misbehavior in a program or software. A new software program can develop bugs after using the same coding standard. Debugging a newly developed program can be more time consuming as compared with writing the program.

The debugging process involves many steps. It can be more difficult to carry out debugging when many modules have tight coupling. In this case, more bugs can develop in another module due to a change in a module.

Important Terminologies in the Debugging Process

You need to get familiar with some common terms frequently used during the debugging process. These include:

Programmer debugger: Also known as a debugger, this tool identifies the area where the bug occurs and corrects such. A good number of software tools have debugging tools.

Complier: This software helps in translating a coding language in a format that helps you easily debug a program. Also, it detects some errors and provides solutions to fixing those errors. However, a debugging tool is needed to address the errors.

Exception: This changes the flow of the code in a program. It could occur during an attempt to open a file that isn’t existing within a program. In some cases, the exception can be handled. However, you will need to start debugging if your program is interrupted by exception.

Breakpoint: Breakpoints are useful in investigating some events that occur during debugging. An example of such an event is an exception. You can use breakpoints to halt a code from going on in sections that has a previous error.

Value: It is a representation of the name assigned to a variable after you have created it. For example, “check information” may be the value you assigned for a number.

Application programming interface (API): You can execute various coding languages in one program with the help of API. For instance, a user can log into a website with the account from another based on API.

Output: It is the coded data created by a program after executing it with a compiler.

Input: It is a coding language which gives instructions to a program to simply carry out a particular function.

Steps in the Debugging Process

There are certain steps to follow during the debugging process.

Detect Error

Detecting errors can save some time if done at an early stage. Poor detection of errors can waste time. Sometimes, it can be hard to interpret production errors users reported. Therefore, it is crucial to detect the actual error.

Determine the location of the error

This means that you need to determine the exact location the error stems from. This helps you in fixing the error. This step requires you to pay more attention on knowing the location of the error instead of analyzing it.

Analyze the error

After you have determined the location of the error, you need to analyze the error. This helps to understand why the error occurred in the first place.

Prove the analysis

After the main error has been analyzed, it is important to detect more errors that are more likely to appear. This step involves you writing the test cases via the test framework.

Cover lateral damage

Here, you need to carry out unit testing of the codes in which some changes will be made.

Fix the errors

The last step is to fix the errors and test the program.

Types of Debugging Errors


During the debugging process, you will encounter some common errors. These errors include:

Logic errors

These are issues that occur in the algorithm of a code. Logic errors occur when the code of a program generates an output that isn’t expected or makes the program stop working. A debugging tool can help in resolving these errors. This tool will check the variable responsible for the issue.

Syntax errors

Basically, these are grammatical disruptions in a line of code. For instance, a syntax error might occur due to an extra period. This error can be identified by a complier. The complier sends a notification message in a screen about the location of the error in the code and how to solve it. A programmer debugger is used in fixing this error.

Interface errors

These errors are caused by a disconnect in the application programming interface (API). They occur due to coding languages in API. You need to make comparison of lines in a code in order to address this error. Also, ensure there are records of some debugging processes you carried out in the past.

Run-time errors

When someone makes use of a program and there is an error detected while the program is being run, this is what we refer to as run-time errors. These errors can occur after you have completed the initial debugging process since a computer can interpret the code of a program in unexpected manners. The solution to this error is for an operating system to have the necessary data needed to execute a program correctly.

Types of Programmer Debugger

There are different types of programmer debuggers. These debuggers usually probe for errors in programs. Examples include ICDW debugger and SWD programmer.

Atmel ICE

This is a development tool used for debugging and programming. It is compatible with the Atmel Studio and it offers support for debugging and programming of microcontrollers with Atmel AVR UC3 32-bit. A USB bus voltage is used in powering the Atmel ICE. Since this tool requires below 100 mA to function, you can use a USB hub to power this debugging tool. It has a power LED which illuminates when plugged in.

Pickit 3

Pickit 3 is a low cost and simple programmer debugger popularly integrated for the design and development of Microchip PIC. Also, this debugger runs code like an actual device since it makes use of a device that has built-in emulation circuitry. The processors of this debugging tool run at very high speeds.

Some of the features of Pickit 3 include full-speed USB support, short-circuit monitor, and peripheral freeze at breakpoint. Pickit3 is designed for the purpose of development programming. With the Pickit 3 programmer debugger, you can easily debug an application in real time and as well debug hardware breakpoints.


This is the fourth version of the Pickit. It is a debugger which enables you to program and debug Microchip PIC, CEC microcontrollers. This debugging tool has great debug facilities which includes faster programming times and sophisticated communication protocols. Also, users can use this tool as a device production programmer. You can debug at full speed and configure pin drivers.

Pickit4 offers support for several software and hardware breakpoints. This debugger has a light strip which indicates its status.  With a USB cable, you can easily connect the Pickit 4 to the computer for communication. There are two ways of using the Pickit 4 for debugging. First, you need to program an application on the target device. The second method runs the application program by using the internal in-circuit debug hardware.

Stlink v3Set?

This is a stand-alone debugger and programmer for STM32 and STM8 microcontrollers. It comprises a complementary adapter board and a module. St link v3set has a virtual COM port interface that enables the PC to interact with the microcontroller via UART. Furthermore, the modular structure of the St link debugger allows it to enhance its features via extra modules like the adapter board.

 St link v3 set has a stand-alone probe and can be powered using a USB connector. Also, this debugger has an interface that is compatible with USB 2.0 high speed. The St link debugger offers a wide range of features. It is available in major electronics distributors. With the St link server, it is possible to share the interface of a ST link board among many host programs which could be a monitoring tool and debugging tool.

Debugging vs Testing: What’s the Difference?

These two processes are different. Testing helps to detect the cause of a mistake in the source code of a program. Debugging, on the other hand, helps to discover and fix this error. The developer can’t discover the coding mistake through testing. Testing can only reveal the impact of the coding error on the program while debugging identifies what causes the error in order to fix it.

Debugging divides complex problems in portions to make things very easy. You can carry out testing with some automation tools or manually. However, the debugging process makes use of automation. When testing you don’t need programming knowledge. You need to have a prior knowledge of a programming language before you can commence the debugging process.

During the testing process, there are two or more activities like software verification and validation. On the other hand, debugging matches indication with cause.

Techniques used by Programmer Debugger

PCB Programmer Debugger
PCB Programmer Debugger

A programmer debugger makes use of some techniques to debug a software program.

Reverse debugging

Some debuggers enable users to keep track of the program execution. They allow users to carry out the operations for stepping code in a reverse manner. With this technique, developers can easily detect errors in a debugging session.

Batch debugging

The debugger takes control of the program when you aren’t even using a GUI. With this debugging technique, the debugger carries along the program to completion.

Interactive debugging

This is a common technique that allows users to load their program with the GUI of the debugger and then analyze the program being run by examining program data and stepping through code.

Delta debugging

Here, you compare one run to another and look for their difference in terms of the execution of lines they are undergoing. Alternatively, you could look for the difference in the data of the two runs.


A new software program can still develop some bugs even if a similar coding standard has been used. A programmer debugger hides the source code of the error and fixes it. Debuggers help in detecting any coding mistakes that occur at different stages of development. A crucial aspect of engineering that is not often discussed is debugging. The debugger is a crucial and powerful tool that helps developers to carry out their tasks successfully.




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