Thursday, August 13, 2009

A (more) useful bug reporting

NaroCAD have a watchdog application that just in case of Naro's crashes, it gives to you the log files and the user comments. This is somehow valuable as long as we can write a verbosity message that is not too high to not fill the entire hard drive to user. This log writes most of operations but in many cases real time operations that may lead to crash are not logged right.

The real problem is that we did not get in most of cases how to reproduce in detail your cases.

In many cases we found that may crash fairly random on other machines but for sure Naro in our development machines do not crash all of the sudden. Just in my case I have three machines I test Naro extensively, a low-end workstation (AMD Phenom X4 9960 CPU, 8G of RAM, Ati 4850 1G Video and a Vista 64 OS English), a common laptop (Intel C2D 2GHz, 4G RAM, NVidia 103 GPU 512M video dedicated, with Windows 7 64 bits English) and an Atom laptop (Samsung NC10, default configuration, but upgraded from 1 to 2G of RAM, WinXP SP3 Home in Spannish, Intel video card).

If you have a configuration that Naro crash by only visiting looking shapes all of the sudden, please update your video drivers and make an up-to-date of your OS. This may be good not only for Naro but for others applications as well.

If you think that is a NaroCAD problem, and Naro crash, it is much more valuable both for you and for us to try to do this:
- find if Naro crash consistently in the same way. Let's say it crash when you create a 2 points line with length zero. Or you combine a spline with another spline in grouping operations, etc. etc.
- try to reduce the steps to bare minimum. The most easy way even you have a complex configuration of shapes that makes to crash, is to save the file content just before it crash, and try to get that file too. By doing this you will simply need to make 2 steps to reproduce this bug: open the file and do an operation that crash Naro.
- fill those steps when the crash reporter appears. Pasting the NaroXML file in bug report and the step will mean for us developers a very easy way to debug and fix the problem.
- just in case that you want to know when is fixed, write your email to an account to be contacted after a bug fix is done. In this way will be much easier to be sure that the bug fix really solves your problem as we will contact you to validate the fix if is done correctly. If you are afraid that your email may be used in a wrong way, go to NaroCAD's SourceForge page to report the bug here: and choose to be notified on changes on bug life cycle.

By doing this it will save a lot of our work and it will reduce the time to fix the problems to you too.

NaroCAD is mostly tested (by me at least) using English/Spanish Windows OSes which may mean that internationalization problems are really hard to be tracked by me. If you think that may be an internationalization problem, is fairly easy to track it down: change your language setting to English first when running Naro and at the end redo the operations using your language.

If you can track an internationalization problems on your machine, please notice us, we will be able to track those problems too by getting real life feedback from you.

So, resuming all blog post, when you see that Naro crash, please rerun NaroCAD and find the smallest case that you can get the problem and write the steps down in the crash report. If you are really interested on that bug to be fixed and you know that you can test if is fixed or not on your machine, let on the last line of the bug report your email and we will ask you for validating the fix.

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