Archive for August, 2007

Beware of the sorts you use!

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

Usually I try to make incremental changes to a debugged big piece of software in order to avoid introducing new bugs that can bite rather painfully later when you least expect it. One reasonably good way of testing that new changes do not break old stuff is to use same inputs and save knowingly good (I call it “gold”) output from software and then compare it with the new output. It should be identical if the changes that you made were designed to improve things like performance or scalability of the same code but not change actual output. This output can be easily compared using fc /b command to know that outputs are exact or just visually check size (more dangerous). Say for example new code might do complex calculations on multiple CPU cores and then merge results, but such results should be exactly the same as if it was running serially on just one core. Sounds simple, but not always!