Thursday, 13 September 2012

JVM crash: an eye opener

I had done some programming but I guess I had not hit many walls. In C, my programs had segfaulted; but every time that happened I knew that my program broke; but there was never a notion of the programming environment breaking down. I, of course, know that when one is coding specifically to break the environment, it is not impossible; but I am talking about cases when the break is not intended. I could never imagine the shell, in which I am running a program for connecting to some website and getting some data, breaking down in between the running of the program.

However, recently I was using Rubymine to test some XML parsers I had written and suddenly it crashed. Initially, I thought may be Rubymine crashed, so I went back to shell where I had started it. To my utter surprise, it was the JVM that had crashed. That is when it hit me that programming environments can also crash. I have reported the bug; but there is not much done from Oracle's side about it.

Well, I do not expect much from them either; but the lesson I learnt is valuable: it is not only the program; but also the program's environment that can crash. Its not that I did not know it but it is not something I regularly expected. From now on, I will though. It did change the way I looked at errors. I guess this is what counts as experience.