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The most annoying aspect of software development is debugging. We don't mind the kinds of bugs that yield to a few minutes inspection. The bugs we hate are the ones that show up only after hours of successful operation, under unusual circumstances, or whose stack traces lead to dead ends. Fortunately, there's a simple technique that dramatically reduces the number of these bugs in our software. It won't reduce the overall number of bugs, at least not at first, but it'll make most defects much easier to find. The technique is to build our software to "fail fast".
Date of Publication: Sept.-Oct. 2004