Programming is one of the most important skills in the modern world, shaping our experience of so much of the technology we interact with on a daily basis. In an ideal world, programming would be a simple process of coding and then running that code to achieve results. But as every programmer understands, coding is a process that includes a debugging process to seek out and fix errors. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most common types of programming errors in order to better understand how they come about and what can be done to avoid them or to correct them.
Just as English has rules of grammar, so too do computer languages. However, while we can understand someone whose grammar is less than perfect, computers can’t handle syntax errors. In many cases, a syntax error will stop the program from running. While syntax errors are the most common type of error—the equivalent of a typo in written English—the good news is that they happen less frequently as a coder’s skill and experience increase. The best way to prevent a syntax error from creating a massive headache is to catch these errors as you write by reviewing your work carefully step by step rather than waiting until the end.
Logic errors are notoriously difficult to detect. The program might look like it is working, but you have accidentally programmed it to do the wrong thing. Therefore, the programming is doing its job, but the job isn’t the right one. For example, an infamous situation took place in the 1990s when NASA lost the Mars Observer because it had coded the software in U.S. unis instead of metric units. It can be helpful to show your tests to your product manager or the product owner in order to confirm the logic is correct before finishing your program.
When a programming language requires a compilation step, a higher-level language must be converted to a lower-level language that the computer can better process. When the computer isn’t able to transform the code correctly, such as when a syntax error disrupts the compilation process, then a compilation error occurs. The best way to avoid compilation errors is to pursue feedback early to find compilation problems as you work. Running your compiler frequently will let you receive feedback step by step so you can address issues as they arise rather than trying to troubleshoot the entire program and all of the compilation at the same time.
When a user executes your program and the code doesn’t work as anticipated, a runtime error occurs. Code might work correctly on your machine, but the web server or the end user might have a different configuration or it might interact with other software in a way that could cause a runtime error. Runtime errors are especially noticeable because they impact the end user, and they stop the user from completing their tasks. To combat runtime errors, make sure that you have a reporting process in place so you can be made aware of runtime errors, both to fix them and to learn from them for future coding. It can also be helpful to use community-maintained code to minimize errors because the public may have already encountered and fixed issues.
An arithmetic error is a subset of logic errors involving mistakes in math. For example, one cannot divide by zero without causing a problem. While a human wouldn’t try to divide by zero, you might not realize that something in your system might have a size of 0, causing this kind of arithmetic error when running a program. These kinds of errors generate a logic error or a runtime error, so having good tests that anticipate divide by zero errors, negative numbers, and other worst cases is essential to stopping arithmetic errors.
We all make mistakes, and errors are inevitable. However, that doesn’t mean that code needs to be full of bugs and errors. If you need help with your coding, there is an easy way to get the help you need with your coding assignments. Online services like AssignmentCore.com are always available to help with coding related homework issues for students working on coding projects. “I was looking to pay someone to do my programming homework,” one student said, “and I discovered that AssignmentCore.com has systems in place to catch many different types of errors. They produce some of the most error-free code I’ve seen. It’s a great way for you to get quality coding help!” Coding errors are going to happen, but with the help of AssignmentCore.com and frequent and early checking for errors, you will have high quality code every time.