Copyright: (C) Copyright (C) 2005 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
GDB is the GNU debugger and is the main method used for debugging Objective-C programs. Full support for debugging Objective-C with GDB was added in version 6.0. This document will describe the various features of GDB that help with debugging Objective-C programs. However, GDB is a very complex program, and not everything that it can do will be described here.
To start the debugger, specify the program you want to debug:
With GNUstep you can also use the debugtool and debugapp scripts to begin a debugging session:
Following is a short list of important commands that gdb accepts. After this list, a more detailed explaination of each command is given.
This command starts the program inside the debugger. You can optionally add arguments to the run command and these arguments will get passed directly to the program as normal command-line arguments. For instance, you might want to start an application and open a file:
This command instructs the debugger to stop when it reaches a certain location in the program. The syntax for break can be very complex. However we will only cover some simple examples. One instance is to break on a particular line number.
will stop the debugger at line 345 in the file
will tell the debugger to stop at the beggining of the
a_function function. Finally, and most importantly
for Objective-C programs, you can enter a fully-qualified or
partially-qualified method name to stop at.
A fully qualified Objective-C method name is specified as
where the minus sign is used to indicate an instance method and
a plus sign (not shown) is used to indicate a class method. The
class name Class and method name methodName are
enclosed in brackets, similar to the way messages are specified
in Objective-C source code. For example, to set a breakpoint at
create instance method of class
in the program currently being debugged, enter:
break -[Fruit create]
One can also specify just a method name:
gdb will automatically determine what class this method belongs to. If there is more than one class that implements this method, you will be presented with a list of classes that implement the method from which you must chose one.
The print command can be used to display a wide variety of information that gdb knows about the program. As with the break command, the variety of things you can do is very large, but we will discuss only a few of the things that can be done. Below are several simple examples of printing the value of a variable.
print aVariable print anIvar print self->anIvar print anArray print aStruct.subvalue print *(int *)pointerValue
Note that you can specify variables in the same way you specify them in source code, using array subscripts, pointer dereferences, etc. You can also set the value of a variable using print:
print aVariable = 4
One can also print the value of a function. Here gdb will actually call the function you specify and return the output:
print my_function(4, "hithere")
When debugging Objective-C programs, the same thing can be done with methods.
print -[object hash]
A special command has been added to gdb to print the description of an object (based on the method of the same name). This is the print-object (or po) command:
Which is the same as typing
print -[myObject desciption]
The clear, info line, jump, and list commands also accept Objective-C method syntax for specifying locations.