docs/debugger.pod - The Parrot Debugger
This document describes parrot_debugger, the Parrot Debugger.
Starting from version 0.0.6 Parrot has its own debugger, which is modeled after Perl's one. Its name is parrot_debugger, and is an interactive environment that let you step through bytecode, set breakpoints, evaluate assembly instructions and peek at the interpreter status.
A good (well, at least some) knowledge of the Parrot internals is obviously required to read this document. Some familiarity with debugging principles is also mandatory beyond this point.
The debugger is built along with Parrot when you run 'make', but if you want to build *only* the debugger, then you can run:
Which will create a new parrot_debugger executable in the same directory as the parrot executable.
To start the debugger type:
That is, parrot_debugger takes exactly one argument, which is the Parrot file that you're going to debug. This file may be Parrot bytecode (*.pbc), PASM source code (*.pasm) or PIR (*.pir). parrot_debugger will automatically load and disassemble the bytecode file for you.
Note that you can't pass command line arguments to your program when you invoke the debugger. See the
run (r) command below for this.
After the version banner, you'll see the friendly debugger prompt:
parrot_debugger is ready to receive commands and give output. To list the available commands type 'h'. To quit the debugger type 'q'.
As with the Perl debugger, whenever it halts and shows you a line of code, it is always the line it's about to execute, not the one that it has just executed.
Always remember that you can enter 'h' to get a list of commands (this document may be outdated in respect to the actual debugger, so let it speak for itself).
Most commands can be shortened to their first letter. When available, this is signaled by the letter in parentheses after the command name Thus,
help (h) means that the command can be given as 'help' or just 'h'. On the other hand,
load can only be given as 'load', verbatim. Debugger commands are case sensitive (LOAD is not a valid command) but Parrot register names are not.
A blank line always repeats the last command entered.
Also note that at this point in its development, parrot_debugger has very poor error checking on commands and their arguments, so type carefully or something bad will happen. Feel free to report bugs, or better yet patch the source code (see "FILES" below).
Assign to a Parrot register. For example:
(pdb) a I0 42 I0 = 42 (pdb) a N1 3.14 N1 = 3.14
The first command sets I0 to 42 and the second sets N1 to 3.14. Register names are not case sensitive, so you can use either i0 or I0 .
Disassemble a loaded bytecode file. This will turn a file loaded with
load into proper Parrot assembler.
Load a source code (assembler) file. The syntax is:
List the source code. The syntax is:
list [FROM] [NUM]
Both arguments are optional. By default
FROM is from where the last list command ended (or the first line if this is the first invocation) and
NUM is 10. That is, it lists the source code ten lines at a time.
Note that the disassembled source code is not the same as the original source code: labels take the names
L1 .. Ln and opcodes are fully qualified (eg.
set_i_ic instead of just
set). See also
# lists the first three source code lines (pdb) l 1 3 1 set_i_ic I1,0 2 L3: print_sc "fact of " 3 print_i I1
Run (or restart) the program. The syntax is:
Any arguments you give are passed as command line arguments to the program (ie. they populate P0).
After the program has ended, you can run it again with this command. See also the
continue (c) command.
(pdb) r Restarting fact of 0 is: 1 fact of 1 is: 1 fact of 2 is: 2 fact of 3 is: 6 fact of 4 is: 24 fact of 5 is: 120 fact of 6 is: 720 Program exited.
Add a breakpoint. The syntax is:
b LINE [if CONDITION]
If you want a conditional breakpoint you should first specify the register that is involved in the condition (at least one must be), the comparison and then the third argument can be either another register or a constant, which must be of the same type as the first register specified.
The command returns a number which is the breakpoint identifier. You should note this number for the
delete (d) command (see below).
# sets a breakpoint on line 10 (will be breakpoint 0) (pdb) b 10 Breakpoint 0 at line 10 # another breakpoint on line 11 (will be breakpoint 1) (pdb) b 11 Breakpoint 1 at line 11 # break at line 4 if I16 is less than or equal to 123456 (pdb) b 4 if I16 <= 123456 Breakpoint 2 at line 4 # break at line 4 if N27 is greater than 5.23 (pdb) b 5 if N27 > 5.23 Breakpoint 3 at line 5 # break at line 4 if S2 is equal to S13 (pdb) b 6 if S2 == S13 Breakpoint 4 at line 6 # break at line 4 if S5 is equal to "stop" (pdb) b 7 if S2 == "stop" Breakpoint 5 at line 7
Add a watchpoint. The syntax is:
The condition has the same format as in
Delete a breakpoint. The syntax is:
NUM argument is the breakpoint number (from 0 to N) as emitted by the
break (b) command. It is NOT the line that has the breakpoint.
# delete the first breakpoint (was on line 10, see example above) (pdb) d 0
Disable a breakpoint. The syntax is the same as for the
delete command. Disabled breakpoints can be re-enabled with
Re-enable a disabled breakpoint. The syntax is:
NUM is the number of the breakpoint.
Continue the program execution. The syntax of this command is:
Without arguments, the command just runs the source code until a breakpoint is found (or until the end of the program).
If you specify a number, it will skip the next
NUM breakpoints it encounters.
When the program has ended, continue will do nothing. Use
run (r) to execute it again.
Run the next instruction. The syntax is:
NUM defaults to 1, but you can give a number of instructions to execute before stopping again.
The eval command is currently unimplemeneted.
Run an instruction. The syntax is:
(pdb) e set I0, 42 (pdb) e print I0 42 (pdb) p i I0 = 42 I1 = 0 ...
Trace the next instruction. The syntax is:
It executes the next
NUM instructions (default is 1) just as
next (n) does, but printing additional trace information. This is the same as the information you get when running Parrot with the
# executes 2 instructions and trace them (pdb) t 2 PC=0; OP=67 (set_i_ic); ARGS=(I1=0, 0) PC=3; OP=24 (print_sc); ARGS=("fact of ") fact of 3 print_i I1
Print the interpreter registers. Register names are not case sensitive. The syntax is:
VALUE may be:
Prints out the single register specified.
Prints out all registers of the given type
Looks up the given (integer- or string-valued) key in a PMC register.
For PMC registers, the command will print the number, the class of the PMC (in square brackets) and its string representation (when available). It prints <PMCNULL> for uninitialized PMC registers.
# prints the content of I2 (pdb) p i2 I2 = 0 # prints the content of P0 (pdb) p P0 P0 = [ResizablePMCArray] # prints the content of all string registers (pdb) p s S0 = Just S1 = Another S2 = Parrot S3 = Hacker
Print interpreter information.
(pdb) info Total memory allocated = 81936 GC mark runs = 6 GC collect runs = 0 Active PMCs = 8197 Active buffers = 7 Total PMCs = 21840 Total buffers = 48 Header allocations since last collect = 0 Memory allocations since last collect = 2
Exit the debugger.
Prints information about debugger commands. The syntax is:
COMMAND is omitted, prints a list of the available commands.
This is the file that will produce the executable. Nothing fancy here, it mostly consists of the
Most of the debugger is implemented here. You may want to start from the
PDB_run_command function and go down from there for the real meat.
Parrot_debug, the function which launches the debugger, is implemented here.
This defines all the PDB structures, which hold data used by the debugger.
First version (SVN debug.c revision 1.24), authored by Aldo Calpini