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Debugging sessions online, communication and collaboration in real-time

Remote access, collaboration and intelligence are among the most sought-after features in debugging tools. DebugLive has put those features in debuggers for .NET and Windows. In this post, I share information on today’s debugging challenges and DebugLive’s new features, gleaned from my conversations with Debuglive CEO Donis Marshall and others.

Today, software teams are dispersed across the globe. The good news is that distributed test and development teams have many ways to collaborate remotely, such social networking tools, phones, instant messenger and a wide array of communication devices and software. The downside is that IM, email, Facebook and other such software are all external applications, according to Marshall. Using external tools means the security of an internal firewall is lost. Even if security is not an issue, the work required to maintain contact lists and communicate with multiple people using different tools and technologies is substantial.

Marshall’s team saw a need for a single, internal tool that gives the whole software team the same screen for comments and test corrections. So DebugLive was designed to provide remote access to data, while retaining all personal and company firewalls .

Scott Gagnon Marketing Director for DebugLive believe so.

“With DebugLive you can debug your Windows-based application from anywhere you can connect online and have multiple users all locked into the same debugging session, trying to achieve the same end goals,” says Scott Gagnon, DebugLive marketing director. Also, Marshall noted that DebugLive complements Microsoft tools, such as WinDBG and Visual Studio, by adding multi-user, remote access, collaboration and other features not available in Redmond’s suites.

Despite the name, DebugLive has features that go beyond debugging. One such feature is the ability to record a video offered as a plug-in. Though this can be used to record a debugging session, it could serve other purposes as well, such as training or marketing, Marshall said.

Other features in the Debuglive tooling are hyperlinked hints for debugging. Say you want to run a predetermined debugging process, Marshall explained. Instead of typing out statement after statement of code, simply click and the process runs. DebugLive also uses intelligent selections for next processes. Once debugging has begun, DebugLive suggests what command should be run next based on context. Testers can also save their own debugging processes in the tools database; these become available to their co-workers who are also logged into DebugLive.

Wintellect— a software consultancy, debugging and training company — uses DebugLive in all of its debugging and consulting services. John Robbins, co-founder, likes DebugLive’s collaboration capability in particular. “What was once a solution, laid out in weeks of review, emails, phone chats and flights all over the world can now be solved in real time with a group logged into DebugLive,” he said. Teams are able to examine and debug large-sized core dumps and store all their artifacts in a single repository for easy organization.

Robbins recommends DebugLive to IT organizations bogged down by tech support problems and requests. “These tech guys have been taking on more and more application bug problems, many of which lie outside of their area of expertise,” he said. “Many of them have some sort of background in debugging, but had never thought it would dominate their workloads. DebugLive has helped them in that they can resource numerous members of various software specialties to help resolve complex issues.”

Convenience and cost reduction are two benefits WinIntellect has derived from DebugLive. “It is an expensive industry to be in, flights, conference calls, explaining issues to management, explaining them again and again. Now if part of the team works in India and another in the continental US, there is no problem. Just login and start debugging, share screens and send IMs,” said Robbins.

DebugLive is currently offering free trials available through their website. Next on DebugLive’s plate is making their debugger available to developers and testers who aren’t exclusively operating in .NET. The new platform is currently in beta and is expected to launch later in the year. DebugLive is also currently offering a free trial of their product which you can sign up for through this link, free trial

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