My idea to use fiction and a mystery format to teach debugging skills evolved over time. When I first planned to write a book on debugging embedded systems, I created an outline of typical bugs and debugging techniques, but it seemed kind of boring.

(BORING!)

Who would read this? I wondered. Then I tried explaining the problem-solving thought process in terms of a real life problem, like an industrial over that overheats. This lead to the test case publication, “A Feynman Approach to Debugging,” that appeared in Embedded Systems Design magazine (Embedded.com) in 2004. This article was written in second-person, and it was my first attempt to place the debugging challenges into a mystery format.

It was well-received, but when it came time to write an entire book of mysteries, I wasn’t sure keeping the second-person style would keep readers interested. After some research and trial-and-error for my first foray into fiction, I changed the mysteries to third person, making the move from non-fiction to fiction complete.

Read the test case article,“A Feynman Approach to Debugging,” here.