dry run

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dry run

[¦drī ′rən]
(computer science)
A check of the logic and coding of a computer program in which the program's operations are followed from a flow chart and written instructions, and the results of each step are written down, before the program is run on a computer. Also known as desk check.
(engineering)
Any practice test or session.
(ordnance)
Any simulated firing practice, particularly a dive-bombing approach made without the release of a bomb.

dry run

(programming)
To execute a program by hand, writing values of variables and other run-time data on paper, in order to check its operation and control flow or to track down a bug (as part of debugging). A dry run is an extreme form of desk check or code review and is practical only for fairly simple programs, small amounts of data and simple external interfaces. It was often performed off-line using a hardcopy of the source code.

Dry runs were common practice in the days when access to computers was limited but the availability of screen editors and fast compilers makes debugging by printf a more productive method in most cases. Sophisticated debuggers that allow you to get the computer to step through your source code line by line and show values of variables make even this unnecessary.
References in periodicals archive ?
The pharmaceutical company might spend millions of dollars and end up with a dry run.
scientists are completing the Chernobyl task the last week of March 2000, and they will be preparing for demonstrations and dry runs at the Hanford Site.
On Wednesday, trainers took horses on dry runs through four equestrian rings set up at the entry to the ranch.