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ReplayDirector - Something on my radar

On my Job as a J2EE consultant, I have encountered situations where I am unable to reproduce a problem QA encountered. For one, it may be a really hard-to-reproduce or not-realistically-probable situation in a normal user interaction and just that QA stumbled on it. Or it could be a piss port job by QA that they just broke it, no idea how - but the user might have higher probability of reaching that state. Either way, My job as a developer is to see that NO probabilistic known scenario should break my application. So here is one scenario I know the system is broken but I don't know how to fix it, because I just know the problem not its cause. Its a very challenging albeit annoying situation. I find myself very energetic in the beginning but as time passes without being able to find the cause, I get stressed.

I guess many of you in the business, have had this situation some or the other time. Here is where recording the whole state of jvm comes into picture. ReplaySolutions has an innovative product that does something like that. It records all the activity (Even in a JEE with multi-tier stack) and records them as isolated sessions. This is (their caption) Tivo for Java programs. These Isolated sessions are completely replay able, independent of the dependencies. By Idea, this should eliminate all those variables and give you exactly all the state which caused the bug to occur. I haven't seen this in action my self (I am yet to be invited on their beta program). But They have a demo posted on Eclipse live, if you are interested to catch it in action. There are some important features like being able to capture the screens, submit a session directly as a Bug etc. They claim this is a light weight Byte analysing agent that binds itself to the JVM. I just have to wait and see how this all gels in. May be some day, I dont have to go through all that stress of - "O come on man, How the heck did QA get this - let me just mark it unreproducible".

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