A super-premium debug technique – Rubber Ducking

If you are encountering a bug in a code snippet and you are spending a lot of time to investigate and find out the cause of the bug, try applying the Rubber Ducking debugging method. The idea of this method is to try to explain your code to a rubber duck or any inanimate object so that it can understand your code.

The Rubber Duck is something that has no experience in coding, explaining it is the same as explaining it to someone who knows nothing about coding. You have to use easy-to-understand, non-technical language, analogies to the problem, and avoid unnecessary details when dealing with the problem (For example, focusing too much on a technical term).

If you don’t have a duck, try it with the computer mouse you are using, the power outlet on the table, stuffed animals, pens, etc.

Here are a few other ideas when you are stuck:

  • Go outside for a cup of iced tea or take a short nap or go to the bathroom.
  • Call someone out, try to explain to them the steps you have taken with the code, describe the desired output, and the problem you are facing.

How the Rubber Ducking work?

Unveiling the Power of Rubber Ducking: A Journey of Self-Narration and Enhanced Comprehension

When you study by reading aloud, you engage multiple sensory channels, transforming visual information into an auditory experience. This multisensory approach activates a cascade of cognitive processes, enhancing your ability to encode, retain, and retrieve information. Similarly, Rubber Ducking taps into this innate human ability to learn through verbalization, transforming your code into a narrative that you can actively engage with.

As you explain your code to an unsuspecting rubber duck, you embark on a journey of self-narration, meticulously dissecting each line and function. This process of verbalization forces you to confront assumptions, break down complex concepts into simpler components, and identify any gaps in your understanding.

The act of explaining to an assumedly ignorant audience demands a level of precision and clarity that you might have overlooked in your internal monologue. You become a teacher, compelled to articulate your thoughts in a way that not only conveys understanding but also fosters comprehension in another.

The psychological shift of stepping outside yourself and adopting the perspective of the rubber ducky is the crux of Rubber Ducking’s effectiveness. It allows you to detach from your initial assumptions and re-examine your code with fresh eyes, often leading to breakthroughs in understanding and problem-solving.

In essence, Rubber Ducking harnesses the power of verbalization and the psychological shift of teaching to enhance your problem-solving abilities and deepen your understanding of complex concepts. It is a testament to the transformative power of self-narration, demonstrating that sometimes, the most effective solutions lie within our own voices.

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