Writing Solid Code Weeks 7 and 8

The students continued with their compressor/decompressor development. Coverity continued to find plenty of issues for the students to fix. I’m about to start doing a bit of differential testing of their code, using voting to determine who is correct and who is wrong. I lectured on paranoid programming and on building a fuzzer, for sort …

Writing Solid Code Week 4

This week most of the students in the class (but not everyone, since we ran out of time) presented their arguments about the quality of various UNIX utility programs. This was a bit more interesting than it might otherwise have been since some of the utilities running on our student lab machines are hilariously old …

Writing Solid Code Week 3

This week we finished up the triangle classifier. Not all students’ implementations pass all test cases, which is totally fine with me as long as people learned some lessons about when not to use floating point (I did). On Tuesday we also chose a smallish UNIX utility for each student to evaluate as if it …

Writing Solid Code Week 2

First, I wanted to thank everyone for the great discussion on the post about week 1. My single favorite thing about blogging is the discussion and involvement that these posts sometimes generate. During week 2 we worked on issues relating to the triangle classifier. As several commenters predicted, getting correct results using floating point code …

FizzBuzz Bugs

It is said that an overwhelming majority of applicants for some programming jobs fail the FizzBuzz test. As part of a simple warmup exercise, I asked my computer systems class (a required course for CS majors, usually taken in the 3rd year) to implement FizzBuzz in C. The problem statement was, I think, the standard …

Reading Code

Reading code is an important skill that doesn’t get enough emphasis in CS programs.┬áThere are three main aspects: the external view of the code: documentation, comments, APIs, white papers, information from developers, etc. the static view: reading the code like a book the dynamic view: reading the code as it executes, probably with help from …