Have you ever heard of Rubber Duck Debugging? The idea is simple. If you’re having trouble debugging code, just put a rubber duck on your desk and explain what’s happening in your code to the duck. Seems absurd, but the act of verbalizing the code situation is usually enough to break the log-jam in your mind and allow you to see the issue.
Another similar technique is “another set of eyes”. I can’t count the number of times I’ve asked someone to look at my code (or had someone ask me to look at theirs) only to find a really simple bug. “I’ve been looking at this for an hour!!!!” A different perspective is all it takes sometimes to spot the problem.
I’ve noticed more than a few times that I start to write a post about something that I think I understand. The more I write, however, the more I feel uncertain. By the three-quarter mark on the post, I save a draft and break out the ISE (or spin up a new virtual machine, or something) and find out that what I thought I knew well enough to share with the world I had completely wrong.
In that way, blogging is like using the entire world as a rubber duck or another set of eyes.
Just a thought I had (almost exactly a year ago) and finally got around to sharing.
Has this ever happened to you? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments.