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Interaction method for setting and disabling variable breakpoints

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000015096D
Original Publication Date: 2002-Jul-30
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-20

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Debuggers are software tools that allow software developers to detect and solve problems in their code. One commonly employed technique is the use of breakpoints; a breakpoint is a condition that when met interrupts the execution of the code, allowing the programmer to inspect the state of variables, the output of the program or other tasks that will allow him to detect the correct or incorrect behavior of the program. There are two main kinds of breakpoints: line breakpoints and variable breakpoints. Line breakpoints interrupt the execution of a piece of code when the line they are assigned to is reached during the execution of the code. Line breakpoints are very common, and standardized interaction techniques have been developed allowing programmers to enable or disable such breakpoints. Variable breakpoints are less common. They interrupt the execution of a piece of code as soon as a variable's contents are either changed or are set to a specific value. The code is interrupted at the line that causes that condition to be met. Because they are less common, fewer interaction techniques have been developed for setting or disabling such breakpoints. The proposed solution allows programmers to set or disable variable breakpoints in a manner consistent with the well developed and widespread interaction techniques used for setting or disabling line breakpoints. This approach leverages software developer's knowledge in performing the common task of setting a line breakpoint, for the less common task of setting variable breakpoints.