The PolyML.DebuggerInterface structure provides a programmatic interface to assist with debugging programs. It is intended for use by applications that replace the default Poly/ML top-level. Most users will not need to use this and for most purposes the functions in PolyML.Debug will be more appropriate.
structure DebuggerInterface: sig val setOnEntry: (string * location -> unit) option -> unit val setOnExit: (string * location -> unit) option -> unit val setOnExitException: (string * location -> exn -> unit) option -> unit val setOnBreakPoint: (location * bool ref -> unit) option -> unit type debugState val debugState: Thread.Thread.thread -> debugState list val debugFunction: debugState -> string val debugFunctionArg: debugState -> NameSpace.Values.value val debugFunctionResult: debugState -> NameSpace.Values.value val debugLocation: debugState -> location val debugNameSpace: debugState -> NameSpace.nameSpace val debugLocalNameSpace: debugState -> NameSpace.nameSpace end
The Poly/ML compiler will add debugging information to a program if PolyML.Compiler.debug is set to true or CPDebug true is included among the options. By default, these options are turned off because using them greatly reduces the speed of the code and in particular optimisations such as tail-recursion are disabled. When debugging is enabled the compiler adds code to allow the debugger to be entered at various points and for the debugger then to extract information about the state of the program being debugged, the debuggee.
There are four global references that can be set by the debugger. Each of them holds an optional function and the code being debugged tests these references at various points in the program and calls the function if it is set.
val setOnEntry: (string * location -> unit) option -> unit
The function set with setOnEntry is called at the start of every function. This function is called with the name of the function and its location. It is called after the argument information has been added to the debug state but before anything else.
val setOnExit: (string * location -> unit) option -> unit
The function set with setOnExit is called at the end of every function if it returns a result. This function is called with the name of the function and its location. It is called after the function result has been added to the debug state.
val setOnExitException: (string * location -> exn -> unit) option -> unit
The function set with setOnExitException is called at the end of every function if it is returning by raising an exception. This function is called with the name of the function and its location and with the exception packet being returned.
val setOnBreakPoint: (location * bool ref -> unit) option -> unit
The function set with setOnBreakPoint is called at various break-points within the function. Currently the compiler inserts break-points at the beginning of the expression in a match, i.e. after the pattern has been discriminated and any variable bindings have been made; after each value declaration; after each expression separated by semicolons in let-expressions or parenthesised sequence of expressions; at the beginning of the then- and else-parts of an if-then-else and at the start of the body of a while-expression.
The function is called with two arguments: the location of the break-point and a break-point identifier, a boolean reference. Break-point identifiers are intended for use with an IDE that is capable of examining the parse-tree. A node in the parse-tree with a break-point associated with it will contain a PTbreakPoint property. All break-point identifiers are initially false. To set a break-point at a particular node the IDE should set the reference to true and install a break-point function that calls the debugger when it is passed a reference that is true.
All functions are called by the thread that is running the program being debugged. All the functions return unit and if they return normally the program will continue as before. It is possible for the function to raise an exception in which case this exception will be raised in place of any existing exception. This can sometimes be useful to terminate the program. Installing any function will add an overhead to the running program. It is better to set a function option to NONE if it is not actually required.
When debugging is enabled the running program maintains information about local variables that can be examined when the program has stopped by calling in to the debugger.
type debugState val debugState: Thread.Thread.thread -> debugState list
The stack of a debuggable thread can be extracted using the debugState function. This should either be called by the thread itself or by the debugger after the thread has been paused with a condition variable. Extracting the debugging state of another thread while the thread is running will lead to unpredictable results.
val debugFunction: debugState -> string val debugFunctionArg: debugState -> PolyML.NameSpace.valueVal val debugFunctionResult: debugState -> PolyML.NameSpace.valueVal
Each node in the state list normally represents a function. These return the name of the function, its argument and its result. The result is only available in an exit function.
This function returns the location associated with a node in the list. This will either be the location of the break-point or where the function has called the next function in the list.
val debugNameSpace: debugState -> nameSpace
Access to the local variables can be obtained through the name-space. A name-space is a record of functions that can be used to look up variables and list the variables. In the general case it can also be used to add variables to the name space but that is not appropriate here and the enter functions all raise an exception. The name space can be used directly to print the values of variables using functions from PolyML.NameSpace. Alternatively the name-space can be used with the Poly/ML compiler to provide an interactive top-level in which the user can enter expressions to be evaluated with local variables as though they had been declared at the top-level. When paused at a break-point it is possible to evaluate local functions as though they were global. Any changes to local reference values will affect the program state when the program resumes.
Currently, the name space contains all the variables that were in scope at the break-point, both those local to the function itself and free variables declared in outer scopes. It excludes any variables that were declared in the outer top-level scope.