Getting Software Help from Katy

You have a bug. I am not your only hope.

Googling the Error Message Trying Stuff Until It Works

Google it

Please don’t come to me with a question that can be solved by a Google search of the error. Especially if you are a Millenial from the U.S., Google really should be in your blood by now. For better google skills, consider powering up your search tactics.

Once you google it, of course, try the things you found on google.

Stack Overflow

If Google isn’t sufficiently refined, or if your code issue isn’t extremely urgent, consider asking your question on the largest programming bug forum in
the solar system… Stack Overflow. Be forewarned: the SO community is not always friendly or well-moderated for snark. That said, you can definitely improve your odds of kind answers by following these tips on asking a question well..

Check your environment

There are a lot of ways that your programming environment can make things fail.

Execute the following commands, and ask yourself whether these values could explain your issues:

  • echo $PATH
  • echo $PYTHONPATH
  • which ‘insert your program here’
  • which python
  • which gcc

If you don’t know how to interperet these runes, google around to find the meaning of these environment variables. Or, read the first chapter of the book.

Debuggers and Profilers

Try to debug with an interactive debugger or find memory errors with a profiler. There is a section on debugging and profiling in the book.

Minimal Working Example

To get the most out of your Stack Overflow question or your meeting with me, you will need to formulate a Minimal Working Example.

Yes, sometimes a minimal working example is hard to create. If that’s the case, I understand. However, you should still do what you can to document what you are trying to do, how you got where you are, how you tried to fix it. I will need this information to help you.

Contact me

If you have tried everything above and nothing has been clarified, then should you email me. The email should include your minimal working example or your detailed documentation of the problem (above). I may need a few days to look it over (so you may as well also add it to Stack Overflow in case they’re faster than me.) If I can’t help you fix it by email, I’ll let you know we should meet. If we need to meet, schedule a meeting.