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1 *debugger.txt* For Vim version 8.2. Last change: 2019 Dec 21
4 VIM REFERENCE MANUAL by Gordon Prieur
7 Debugger Support Features *debugger-support*
9 These features are for integration with a debugger or an Integrated
10 Programming Environment (IPE) or Integrated Development Environment (IDE).
11 For the debugger running in a Vim terminal window see |terminal-debugger|.
13 1. Debugger Features |debugger-features|
14 2. Vim Compile Options |debugger-compilation|
17 1. Debugger Features *debugger-features*
19 The following features are available:
21 Alternate Command Input |alt-input|
22 Debug Signs |debug-signs|
23 Debug Source Highlight |debug-highlight|
24 Message Footer |gui-footer|
25 Balloon Evaluation |balloon-eval|
27 These features were added specifically for use in the Motif version of gvim.
28 However, the |alt-input| and |debug-highlight| were written to be usable in
29 both vim and gvim. Some of the other features could be used in the non-GUI
30 vim with slight modifications. However, I did not do this nor did I test the
31 reliability of building for vim or non Motif GUI versions.
34 1.1 Alternate Command Input *alt-input*
36 For Vim to work with a debugger there must be at least an input connection
37 with a debugger or external tool. In many cases there will also be an output
38 connection but this isn't absolutely necessary.
40 The purpose of the input connection is to let the external debugger send
41 commands to Vim. The commands sent by the debugger should give the debugger
42 enough control to display the current debug environment and state.
44 The current implementation is based on the X Toolkit dispatch loop and the
45 XtAddInput() function call.
48 1.2 Debug Signs *debug-signs*
50 Many debuggers mark specific lines by placing a small sign or color highlight
51 on the line. The |:sign| command lets the debugger set this graphic mark. Some
52 examples where this feature would be used would be a debugger showing an arrow
53 representing the Program Counter (PC) of the program being debugged. Another
54 example would be a small stop sign for a line with a breakpoint. These visible
55 highlights let the user keep track of certain parts of the state of the
58 This feature can be used with more than debuggers, too. An IPE can use a sign
59 to highlight build errors, searched text, or other things. The sign feature
60 can also work together with the |debug-highlight| to ensure the mark is
61 highly visible.
63 Debug signs are defined and placed using the |:sign| command.
66 1.3 Debug Source Highlight *debug-highlight*
68 This feature allows a line to have a predominant highlight. The highlight is
69 intended to make a specific line stand out. The highlight could be made to
70 work for both vim and gvim, whereas the debug sign is, in most cases, limited
71 to gvim. The one exception to this is Sun Microsystem's dtterm. The dtterm
72 from Sun has a "sign gutter" for showing signs.
75 1.4 Message Footer *gui-footer*
77 The message footer can be used to display messages from a debugger or IPE. It
78 can also be used to display menu and toolbar tips. The footer area is at the
79 bottom of the GUI window, below the line used to display colon commands.
81 The display of the footer is controlled by the 'guioptions' letter 'F'.
84 1.5 Balloon Evaluation *balloon-eval*
86 This feature allows a debugger, or other external tool, to display dynamic
87 information based on where the mouse is pointing. The purpose of this feature
88 was to allow Sun's Visual WorkShop debugger to display expression evaluations.
89 However, the feature was implemented in as general a manner as possible and
90 could be used for displaying other information as well. The functionality is
91 limited though, for advanced popups see |popup-window|.
93 Another way to use the balloon is with the 'balloonexpr' option. This is
94 completely user definable.
96 The Balloon Evaluation has some settable parameters too. For Motif the font
97 list and colors can be set via X resources (XmNballoonEvalFontList,
98 XmNballoonEvalBackground, and XmNballoonEvalForeground).
99 The 'balloondelay' option sets the delay before an attempt is made to show a
101 The 'ballooneval' and/or the 'balloonevalterm' option needs to be set to
102 switch it on.
104 Balloon evaluation is only available in the GUI when compiled with the
105 |+balloon_eval| feature. For the terminal the |+balloon_eval_term| feature
108 The Balloon evaluation functions are also used to show a tooltip for the
109 toolbar. The 'ballooneval' option does not need to be set for this. But the
110 other settings apply.
113 2. Vim Compile Options *debugger-compilation*
115 The debugger features were added for use with Sun's Visual WorkShop Integrated
116 Programming Environment (ipe). However, they were done in as generic a manner
117 as possible so that integration with other debuggers could also use these
120 The following compile time preprocessor variables control the features:
122 Alternate Command Input ALT_X_INPUT
123 Debug Glyphs FEAT_SIGNS
124 Debug Highlights FEAT_SIGNS
125 Message Footer FEAT_FOOTER
126 Balloon Evaluation FEAT_BEVAL
128 The support specifically for Sun Visual WorkShop has been removed, since the
129 product no longer exists.
131 For Sun NetBeans support see |netbeans|.