Friday 28 October 2016

APEX Survey Results: Instrumentation Thoughts

This question in my 2015 survey is related to question 7 regarding instrumentation.

Q8: Do you have any thoughts you'd like to share on instrumentation?

I left this open for people to add a free-text response. Here are some worth highlighting, though it was hard to choose since so many people had something to add.

a) How would it help me?

Have a read of this post to get an idea of how the debug output can help solve problems.

b) It's not optional

I agree, it should be baked into your code.

c) An application is not just building, but also managing after deployment. To reduce the cost of the second fase (sic) instrumentation is a must

Another perspective on what instrumentation is all about.

d) Nobody instruments enough ....

Well, I think you could probably have too many logs.

e) Not enough planning goes into instrumentation in general.

Planning is an interesting point. While we could plaster our code with debug logs, this isn't necessarily going to help debugging your code, particularly when you need to further sort the wheat from the chaff.

Once you've decided on a framework, start thinking about standard patterns such as noting start/end of procedures; incoming/outgoing parameters; the varied level of detail you may need; how you can turn it on/off; how errors are highlighted and treated.

Any other factors you think are worth mentioning in regard to planning?

f) Please make Debugging more smoother and documented. An idea can be to create a packaged application to showcase debugging.

Something for the APEX development team to consider.

g) Instrumentation should point out the exact place where error is occured (sic). It should not be overhead for the APEX application and there should be a switch to turn it on/off.

Back in APEX 3.x, debugging was displayed where relevant, within the rendered page itself. It looked awkward and was hard to decipher. Any code is overhead, but the risk/benefit equation outweighs the cost. APEX debugging can be turned on/off, and some logging libraries provide options for granular logging.

h) ... Also debugging apex_collections is somehow hard today ...

Constructs relating specifically to a particular session (such as collections) can be tricky to detail, but with careful planning you should be OK. It may be useful to output a collection count at key locations. You could have a little library that looped and logged key columns from the collection. And the Session link in the Developer Toolbar allows you to see collection contents naturally.

i) I wish I'd known about or used some of the instrumentation methods above long ago when I built my first Apex apps.

I think that comment right there should be a warning to all those who haven't started yet.

j) The CREATE ANY CONTEXT privilege requirement in Logger is a pain.

Sounds worth airing, but I'm pretty sure the benefits outweigh whatever pain that might be.

k) asdfasdfasfd

It seems even cats have opinions on the topic.

l) do it! use whatever tool fits your needs, but use something!

I'll finish with that one.

Does anyone recognise their comment? I didn't want to name anyone without asking.

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