Request for programmers: I have developed a new programming trick that I want to package up and release as open-source. The trick gives you two nice benefits: it auto-generates a flow-chart diagram description of the algorithm, and it gives you steppable debugging from the command line without an IDE.

The main use case I can see is when you have some code that is used infrequently (maybe once every 3 months), and by default you need to spend an hour reviewing how the code works every time you run it. Or maybe you want to make it easier for coworkers to get a high-level understanding of the program, without having to dig into the actual source code. In these scenarios, the autogenerated flow diagram becomes quite useful. Conceptually, it is also nice to be able to look at the algorithm states and control flow as you are developing it, to clarify your own thinking.

Before releasing the tool I want to code up some examples that showcase how the technique works. I was hoping people could help me out by contributing some ideas for good test problems. The ideal problem, in my mind, is one where the difficulty comes not from any deep conceptual requirements, but rather from the presence of many different program states, options, subroutines, or special cases that interact in a way that is hard to remember or reason about without assistance.

Converting local time to UTC and back. Time zones, daylight savings times, etc. are very messy.

Open thread, Feb. 06 - Feb. 12, 2017

by MrMind 1 min read6th Feb 2017115 comments


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