Determination or insanity?

For the last week I’ve been tracking down a bug in my current project. I’ve spent just about every spare minute including the weekend trying to figure out why my code works in a test app, but not the main app. I rewrote a huge piece of some communications code to no avail. I tried threading the communications, putting in proper locks, changed how I processed the bytes, etc. Basically when I was receiving large amounts of data from a Bluetooth device, some data was lost in the transmission and the checksum was incorrect; for small amounts of data, this problem didn’t show up. At this moment in time, I believe I’m the only person in the world working with this combination of hardware and software which made using Stackoverflow useless.

A co-worker of mine kept sending me ideas to try as I was completely out of ideas. His latest idea was to put the files from my test app into the main app to make sure the project settings weren’t the problem. That didn’t solve the problem, so I started ripping out pieces of the code and came across some code we had put in for a demo.

All of the communications code that I was working on was using the External Accessory protocol over Bluetooth. The demo code we had in there was using Multipeer Connectivity which uses WiFi and Bluetooth to discover peers. Once I removed that code, all of my communication issues went away! Now I should file a Radar issue with Apple on issue, but I can’t reproduce it outside of the particular hardware I’m using, networking library I’ve written, and a few other pieces so a bug report would be quite lacking.

I must have spent 40+ hours on this one issue which has caused me to lose sleep and be a bit on edge all week. As failure was not an option and I had no place to turn, I had to solve this. I’m sure that others would have given up as 40+ hours is far too long to spend on a bug. For me, however, I actually spent 4 months full time chasing down a bug in a network router for a cellular base station; like this one, I did eventually discover the fix.

Lesson learned…be careful of using different communication libraries in an app.

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