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Figuring out bugs

Experiment #5819th March, 2021by Joshua Nussbaum

Found a useful thing I found today:

When you encounter a bug, you can try to brute force your way through it, but there’s no guarantee that solves it.

Another approach is to use the magic of experements.

ie. create a brand new project (which eliminates variables), and try to reconstruct the problem with a minimal number of steps.

By doing that, one of two things will happen:

  • You find that you didn’t have a complete understanding of the problem.
  • If it works, that means there was another variable at play. Now go find that variable.

Either way, you made progress.

SSR bug

This is precisely what happened to me today. I was banging my head trying to render my code animation thing from a server-rendered project. The problem was that the project depends on codemirror, which can only render on the client side. I thought it would be easy to check if (window) .... But, no, that didn’t work, nothing seemed to work. Eventually it occured to me try an experiment… and boom, solution found.

The solution was to use dynamic import inside onMount(), see below:

But the more important was the reminder that experiments are how bugs are solved.


  import { onMount } from 'svelte'

  const options = {
    readOnly: true,
    lineNumbers: false,
    mode: "javascript",
    value: "function test() {\n\t\n}"

  let CodeMirror, editor

  onMount(async () => {
    // dynamically import npm packages at runtime
    const mod = await import('@joshnuss/svelte-codemirror')
    await import('codemirror/mode/javascript/javascript')

    CodeMirror = mod.default

<!-- dynamically display component -->
{#if CodeMirror}
  <svelte:component this={CodeMirror} {options} bind:editor/>
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