At Elixir Meetup #1, Michał Buszkiewicz shared his extensive knowledge on debugging Elixir applications.

Table of contents

    He discussed various tools and techniques, emphasizing the importance of a proper debugging mindset and providing practical examples to help developers enhance their troubleshooting skills.

    About Michał Buszkiewicz

    Michał Buszkiewicz is a co-founder and CTO at Curiosum, a Poland-based software house. With a background in Elixir, Phoenix Framework, and Ruby on Rails, Michał brings a wealth of experience to the table. He is also dedicated to training junior Elixir developers and sharing his expertise through presentations and workshops.

    The Importance of a Debugging Mindset

    Attitudes Towards Debugging

    Michał highlighted the varying attitudes towards debugging among programmers. Some rely heavily on tools like Stack Overflow, while others prefer print debugging or diving deep into code libraries. He stressed the importance of being creative and inquisitive in your debugging approach.

    Key Points:

    Stack Overflow: Useful but not a complete solution. Print Debugging: Common but limited in scope. Deep Code Analysis: Beneficial for learning but time-consuming.

    Tools and Techniques for Debugging Elixir

    Elixir and Erlang Tools

    Elixir applications can leverage a range of tools from the Erlang ecosystem, including built-in tools like Observer and Debugger, as well as external tools for message and function call tracing.

    Key Tools:

    Observer: For monitoring system performance and tracing messages. Erlang Debugger: For step-by-step code execution. Redbug and Recon: For message and function call tracing.

    Debugging in Phoenix Applications

    Phoenix Framework Tools

    Michał discussed tools specific to Phoenix Framework, such as the LiveDashboard and Telemetry integration, which are crucial for web application debugging.

    Phoenix Tools:

    LiveDashboard: Provides real-time insights into your Phoenix application. Telemetry: Integrates with LiveDashboard for monitoring requests and performance.

    Advanced Debugging Techniques

    Using IEx for Debugging

    Michał explained how to use IEx for interactive debugging, including the use of IEx.pry and IEx.break for setting breakpoints and inspecting execution contexts.

    IEx Debugging:

    IEx.pry: Insert breakpoints in your code. IEx.break: Set breakpoints for functions or modules without recompiling.

    Practical Demonstrations

    Live Debugging Session

    Michał demonstrated a live debugging session, showing how to use the various tools and techniques discussed. He provided examples of setting breakpoints, inspecting variables, and navigating through code.

    Demo Highlights:

    Setting Up Breakpoints: How to use IEx.pry effectively. Navigating Code: Techniques for stepping through code and inspecting state. Combining Tools: Integrating multiple tools for comprehensive debugging.

    Best Practices for Debugging

    Effective Debugging Strategies

    Michał shared best practices for debugging Elixir applications, emphasizing the importance of clear code, thorough documentation, and leveraging the right tools for the job.

    Best Practices:

    Clear Code: Write maintainable and readable code. Documentation: Document your code and debugging process. Tool Integration: Use the right tools for efficient debugging.


    Michał Buszkiewicz’s presentation at Elixir Meetup #1 provided valuable insights into debugging Elixir applications. By understanding and applying the tools and techniques discussed, developers can improve their debugging efficiency and enhance their overall productivity.

    Join the Community

    Ready to explore the reliability of Elixir and Erlang?

    Register for the next Elixir Meetup at Curiosum Meetups: Registration Join our community of Elixir enthusiasts at Elixir LinkedIn Group Prefer watching the presentation? Here’s the video

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