Archive for the ‘DebugWare Patterns’ Category

Software Problem Description Language (Part 1)

Friday, November 11th, 2011

One of the new initiatives for 2012 is the development of SPDL (Software Problem Description Language). Its purpose is automatic generation of a software troubleshooting tool(s) based on the description of a problem. Here software problem means a post-construction problem as outlined in Introduction to Pattern-Driven Software Problem Solving. The tool construction will utilize an expanded set of DebugWare and Workaround patterns together with the refind version of RADII software development process. This will also provide necessary effectiveness, efficiency and enhanced problem solving capabilities to existing TaaS (Tools as a Service) implementations that are limited in the number of tools they offer.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

Forthcoming Volume 6 of Memory Dump Analysis Anthology

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

The new 6th volume contains revised, edited, cross-referenced, and thematically organized selected blog posts about memory dump and software trace analysis, software troubleshooting and debugging written in November 2010 - October 2011 for software engineers developing and maintaining products on Windows platforms, quality assurance engineers testing software on Windows platforms, technical support and escalation engineers dealing with complex software issues, and security researchers, malware analysts and reverse engineers. The sixth volume features:

  • 56 new crash dump analysis patterns including 14 new .NET memory dump analysis patterns
  • 4 new pattern interaction case studies
  • 11 new trace analysis patterns
  • New Debugware pattern
  • Introduction to UI problem analysis patterns
  • Introduction to intelligence analysis patterns
  • Introduction to unified debugging pattern language
  • Introduction to generative debugging, metadefect template library and DNA of software behaviour
  • The new school of debugging and trends
  • .NET memory dump analysis checklist
  • Software trace analysis checklist
  • Introduction to close and deconstructive readings of a software trace
  • Memory dump analysis compass
  • Computical and Stack Trace Art
  • The abductive reasoning of Philip Marlowe
  • Orbifold memory space and cloud computing
  • Memory worldview
  • Interpretation of cyberspace
  • Relationship of memory dumps to religion
  • Fully cross-referenced with Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, Volume 4, and Volume 5

Product information:

  • Title: Memory Dump Analysis Anthology, Volume 6
  • Author: Dmitry Vostokov
  • Language: English
  • Product Dimensions: 22.86 x 15.24
  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Opentask (December 2011)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-908043-19-1
  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Opentask (January 2012)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-908043-20-7

Back cover features 3d memory space visualization image created with ParaView.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

Uses of Memoretics

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Memoretics promotes pattern-driven memory dump and software trace analysis which has many uses but not limited to:

  • Software and site reliability
  • Software Debugging
  • QA and Software Testing
  • Computer Security
  • Software Troubleshooting
  • Malware Research and Analysis
  • Tools as a Service (TaaS)
  • Supportability
  • Software Diagnostics

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

Presentation from Webinar: Introduction to Pattern-Driven Software Problem Solving

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

The presentation materials from the webinar (25th of March, 2011) are available for download:

Thanks to everyone who registered and attended!

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

Forthcoming Webinar: Introduction to Pattern-Driven Software Problem Solving

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Introduction to Pattern-Driven Software Problem Solving Logo

The first Webinar to start an in-depth discussion of pattern-driven software troubleshooting, debugging and maintenance:

Date: 25th of March 2011
Time: 18:30 (GMT) 14:30 (EST) 11:30 (PST)
Duration: 60 minutes

Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

Topics include:

  • A Short History of
  • Memory Dump Analysis Patterns
  • Troubleshooting and Debugging Tools (Debugware) Patterns
  • Software Trace Analysis Patterns
  • From Software Defects to Software Behavior
  • Workaround Patterns
  • Structural Memory Patterns
  • Memory Analysis Domain Pattern Hierarchy
  • New Directions

Prerequisites: experience in software troubleshooting and/or debugging.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

The New School of Debugging

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

With the new year starts the new initiative to integrate traditional multidisciplinary debugging approaches and methodologies with multiplatform pattern-driven software problem solving, unified debugging patterns, best practices in memory dump analysis and software tracing, computer security, economics, and the new emerging trends I’m going to write about during this year.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

Debugging in 2021: Trends for the Next Decade (Part 1)

Friday, December 17th, 2010

As the new decade is approaching (2011-2020) we would like to make a few previews and predictions:

- Increased complexity of software will bring more methods from biological, social sciences and humanities in addition to existing methods of automated debugging and computer science techniques

- Focus on first fault software problem solving (when aspect)

- Focus on pattern-driven software problem solving (how aspect)

- Fusion of debugging and malware analysis into a unified structural and behavioral pattern framework

- Visual debugging, memory and software trace visualization techniques

- Software maintenance certification

- Focus on domain-driven troubleshooting and debugging tools as a service (debugware TaaS)

- Focus on security issues related to memory dumps and software traces

- New scripting languages and programming language extensions for debugging

- The maturation of the science of memory snapshots and software traces (memoretics)

Imagining is not not limited to the above and more to come and explain in the forthcoming parts.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

Analysis, Architectural, Design, Implementation and Usage Debugging Patterns (Part 0)

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

We now start unifying software behavior analysis patterns with debugging architecture, design, implementation and usage. This is analogous to software construction where a problem analysis leads to various software engineering phases. The important difference here is the addition of debugging usage patterns. Let’s look at an example (we discuss suggested patterns later):

- Analysis Patterns

Shared Buffer Overwrite

- Architectural Patterns

Debug Event Subscription / Notification

- Design Patterns

Punctuated Execution

- Implementation Patterns

Breakpoint (software and hardware)

- Usage Patterns

Kernel vs. user space breakpoints

To differentiate this systematic approach from the various published ad hoc debugging patterns we call it Unified Debugging Pattern Language. ADI parts can also correspond to various DebugWare patterns where we provide a mapping later.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

DebugWare Patterns (Part 13)

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

Our next pattern is called System Description Snapshot. The tool or component compiles the list of system properties and collections, like hardware resources, selected file names from file systems, registry and other configuration information. Two or several snapshots can be compared either visually or automatically to highlight state differences that help in troubleshooting, debugging and problem resolution.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

Memory Dump Analysis Anthology, Volume 4 is available for download

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

I’m pleased to announce that MDAA, Volume 4 is available in PDF format:

It features:

- 15 new crash dump analysis patterns
- 13 new pattern interaction case studies
- 10 new trace analysis patterns
- 6 new Debugware patterns and case study
- Workaround patterns
- Updated checklist
- Fully cross-referenced with Volume 1, Volume 2 and Volume 3
- Memory visualization tutorials
- Memory space art

Its table of contents is available here:

Paperback and hardcover versions should be available in a week or two. I also started working on Volume 5 that should be available in December.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

Forthcoming Webinars in Q4, 2010

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

The choice of webinars below mostly reflects my personal preferences and long time desire to speak on topics like systems thinking, troubleshooting tool design and development. The other topic about BSOD minidump analysis was requested by participants in an ongoing survey. There will be more topics in 2011. All forthcoming webinars will be hosted by Memory Dump Analysis Services. The planning list includes:

Systems Thinking in Memory Dump and Software Trace Analysis

Software Troubleshooting and Debugging Tools: Objects, Components, Patterns and Frameworks with UML

  • UML basics
  • DebugWare patterns
  • Unified Troubleshooting Framework
  • RADII software development process
  • Hands-on exercise: designing and building a tool

Blue Screen Of Death Analysis Done Right: Minidump Investigation for System Administrators

  • Making sense of !analyze –v output
  • Get extra troubleshooting information with additional WinDbg commands
  • Guessing culprits with raw stack analysis
  • Who’s responsible: hardware or software?
  • Checklist and patterns
  • Including hands-on exercises: send your own minidumps

More detailed information will be available soon. 

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

HP uses StressPrinters for driver stress testing

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

Some recent news about StressPrinters tool designed according to Tool Façade DebugWare pattern:

“HP tests its print drivers with the StressPrinters tool provided by Citrix to simulate a user logon where multiple printers are autocreated concurrently.”


- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

SsOnExpert: DebugWare Patterns in Use

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

The following tool published by Citrix follows DebugWare patterns in its overall architecture and design and was implemented by a team of engineers using RADII process:

SsOnExpert - Single Sign-On XenApp Plug-in Troubleshooting Tool

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

Modern Memory Dump and Software Trace Analysis: Volumes 1-3

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

OpenTask to offer first 3 volumes of Memory Dump Analysis Anthology in one set:

The set is available exclusively from OpenTask e-Commerce web site starting from June. Individual volumes are also available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other bookstores worldwide.

Product information:

  • Title: Modern Memory Dump and Software Trace Analysis: Volumes 1-3
  • Author: Dmitry Vostokov
  • Language: English
  • Product Dimensions: 22.86 x 15.24
  • Paperback: 1600 pages
  • Publisher: Opentask (31 May 2010)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-906717-99-5

Information about individual volumes:

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

Memory Dump and Software Trace Analysis Training and Seminars

Friday, April 9th, 2010

Plan to start providing training and seminars in my free time. If you are interested please answer these questions (you can either respond here in comments or use this form for private communication

  • Are you interested in on-site training, prefer traveling or attending webinars?
  • Are you interested in software trace analysis as well?
  • What specific topics are you interested in?
  • What training level (beginner, intermediate, advanced) are you interested in? (please provide an example, if possible)

Additional topics of expertise that can be integrated into training include Source Code Reading and Analysis, Debugging, Windows Architecture, Device Drivers, Troubleshooting Tools Design and Implementation, Multithreading, Deep Down C and C++, x86 and x64 Assembly Language Reading.

Looking forward to your responses. Any suggestions are welcome.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

Forthcoming Memory Dump Analysis Anthology, Volume 4

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

This is a revised, edited, cross-referenced and thematically organized volume of selected blog posts about crash dump analysis and debugging written in July 2009 - January 2010 for software engineers developing and maintaining products on Windows platforms, quality assurance engineers testing software on Windows platforms and technical support and escalation engineers dealing with complex software issues. The fourth volume features:

- 13 new crash dump analysis patterns
- 13 new pattern interaction case studies
- 10 new trace analysis patterns
- 6 new Debugware patterns and case study
- Workaround patterns
- Updated checklist
- Fully cross-referenced with Volume 1, Volume 2 and Volume 3
- New appendixes

Product information:

  • Title: Memory Dump Analysis Anthology, Volume 4
  • Author: Dmitry Vostokov
  • Language: English
  • Product Dimensions: 22.86 x 15.24
  • Paperback: 410 pages
  • Publisher: Opentask (30 March 2010)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-906717-86-5
  • Hardcover: 410 pages
  • Publisher: Opentask (30 April 2010)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-906717-87-2

Back cover features memory space art image: Internal Process Combustion.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

Memory Dump Analysis Anthology, Volume 3

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

“Memory dumps are facts.”

I’m very excited to announce that Volume 3 is available in paperback, hardcover and digital editions:

Memory Dump Analysis Anthology, Volume 3

Table of Contents

In two weeks paperback edition should also appear on Amazon and other bookstores. Amazon hardcover edition is planned to be available in January 2010.

The amount of information was so voluminous that I had to split the originally planned volume into two. Volume 4 should appear by the middle of February together with Color Supplement for Volumes 1-4. 

- Dmitry Vostokov @ -

The Law of Simple Tools

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

In its simplest form the first law of troubleshooting and debugging states that:

The more frequent a problem is, the simpler tool is needed to resolve and fix it.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ -

DebugWare Patterns: A Case Study (Part 1)

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Suppose we want to write a support tool to troubleshoot a frequent software problem. Would we start with GUI? Most tools are command line tools and we therefore choose Tool Façade pattern to decouple GUI from CLI:

By making our GUI optional we postpone its development until later implementation phase when we want to beautify or simplify the tool user interface. The troubleshooting of software problem we want to automate is quite complex, scattered across several knowledge base articles, with many troubleshooting steps and various checks. We therefore treat different steps as TUWs, Troubleshooting Units of Work (aggregating related ones if necessary) and choose Checklist pattern to coordinate them:

Initially we think that just one checklist is suffice but while studying the domain of troubleshooting we find that the problem usually spans client and server computers, where servers sometimes have client roles as well and different troubleshooting steps and checks are needed. In order to simplify the tool we apply Span Differentiator pattern and our architectural UML component diagram becomes more refined:

We also see that different TUW use similar operations like querying registry values or checking whether certain processes are running and factor them out into separate SMs, Supporting Modules:

Deployment methods are important in troubleshooting where it is not always desirable to change configuration on production servers and we plan for optional Self Extractor pattern:

In diagrams we liberally mixed component and static UML diagramming elements. We also need to design a uniform interface that each TUW module exposes to the main tool coordinator module but we leave it for the part 2.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ -

DebugWare Patterns (Part 12)

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Support tools can be packaged for delivery as (not counting optional separate readme and EULA files):

  • - A raw collection of modules
  • - A single installation package
  • - A single archived file
  • - A single self-extractable component

The latter common packaging choice is a pattern itself that I call Self Extractor. Typical examples include sysinternals tools like Process Monitor. Here is a simple unorthodox UML diagram for a single platform tool combining elements from static and component diagrams to illustrate component embedding (not sharing):

SM is a supporting module, for example, a driver, to carry out some task or receive notifications.

Some tools even extract different components depending on the processor architecture, for example, x86 and x64. This is illustrated on a more elaborate UML diagram:

The typical example would be a backward compatible x86 Extractor that extracts an x64 driver (Extractee) for an x64 OS kernel that doesn’t load x86 drivers.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ -