Saturday, May 10, 2014

(De-) Bug wars - A new hope

 "This are not the bugs you are looking for"

Well hopefully in future it will get easier to find those parts of your code, that joined the dark side.
The Lazarus Team is currently working on improving the Debugger in the IDE. And not just improving, but adding an all new shiny debugger.
In fact not just one either.

Here is what we are currently working on. In future we will offer 3 kind of debuggers in the IDE.

  1. The existing gdb based debugger: "GdbmiDebugger".
    And it's variations for gdbserver, and gdb over ssh.
    We will continue to maintain them, as they support additional targets (arm, powerppc, ...) that the new debuggers do not (or not yet) have.

  2. A gdb free debugger: "FpDebugger".
    This is still in its very early alpha stage. So far it will be for Intel targets only. And initial work concentrates on supporting Mac (which no longer comes with GDB, and urgently needs a replacement), and Windows 32 bits. But Win64 and Linux are planned too.

  3. A hybrid: "FpGdbmiDebugger".
    Like the existing GdbmiDebugger it uses GDB. In fact it inherits much of the functionality from GdbmiDebugger.
    But it will have its own routines to evaluate watches itself (without GDB). So it will be able to deal better with Pascal data. As a side effect watch evaluation will also be faster.
    Other debugging tasks, such as running or stepping the exe, and handling breakpoints are handled by the GdbmiDebugger code using GDB.

    But why this one at all?
    The same watch evaluation is available when using FpDebugger?
    Well, with FpGdbmiDebugger being GDB based, it will be easier to support more of the targets that GDB can support (like arm). It will still need some additions (e.g. a reader for arm executables, to read debug info) in order to do this. And FpGdbmiDebugger also has the potential to be extended to be gdbserver based and support remote debugging in future.

    The progress of FpGdbmiDebugger can be watched on its wiki page: FpGdbmiDebugger on our wiki.
    A page for FpDebugger does not yet exist.

The two new debuggers are developed in our SVN version (1.3). And if all goes to plan, then they will be part of Lazarus 1.4 (Probably sometime in 2015)

May Pascal live long and prosper (Oops wrong source).
May the force be with Pascal.