Printf Was Our Debugger
For many years being a C developer at Walmart meant feeling like a second-class citizen. Java and .Net developers never passed up a chance to show off their slick IDE’s complete with syntax highlighting, static code analysis and graphical debugging. Some determined developers managed to string together several command line tools to make things a little better, but most resigned to a life of letting the compiler find their syntax errors and printf statements find their runtime errors.
The introduction of the CDT plugin for Eclipse seemed to offer some hope, but Walmart’s use of an embedded SQL pre-processor prevented C developers from taking advantage of some of the most useful features of CDT like Codan and adoption never took off. However the open nature of the Eclipse platform meant real change was within our grasp. Building and deploying a patch for CDT to handle the embedded SQL statements was surprisingly easy and with it Eclipse and CDT became very appealing even to the most hardened command line users. And with increased usage came increased participation. Other developers created additional plugins for Eclipse to make other steps in the C development process at Walmart possible from Eclipse as well.
This presentation will take a look at what patches and plugins Walmart developed to make the Eclipse CDT platform work for us. We’ll outline the unique challenges posed by supporting C applications across a variety of platforms on more than 35,000 servers world-wide and how we made our C developers much more efficient and effective by leveraging the power and flexibility of Eclipse and CDT.