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beware: features ahead

I found what was causing the error, after 7.5 hours of debugging. A library I didn’t write that my code uses was crashing because of an error parsing the input file, which happens to be a page straight from the wild and woolly internet whose contents I have no control over. The error wasn’t showing up, because when I originally wrote the code which handled this, I caught this sort of exception and wrote useful debugging messages to a magic file. I was supposed to notice that this file existed when presented with errors of this sort, and use its debug messages to improve the code which cleaned up the HTML for the parser. Unfortunately, I had forgotten that it existed, and other than silently creating the file, there was no indication that this error had happened at all. Also unfortunately, this is usually the desired behavior.

On the plus side, once I figured out exactly what was wrong, I had the fix less than 5 minutes later.

I’d add documentation about this ‘feature’, but at this point, it’s good every once in a while to get really into a piece of code whether new or in debugging mode, just to keep my skills from dulling too much with disuse. Plus, with the new fix in place, I should have my absolutely final, completely bug-free version of this code now.

Because that’s the way software works.

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