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[Caml-list] How useful do you find the OCaml debugger?
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Date: 2004-02-04 (08:32)
From: Jean-Christophe Filliatre <Jean-Christophe.Filliatre@l...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] How useful do you find the OCaml debugger?

donna+spam@cs.cmu.edu writes:
 > My advisor and I were having a dicussion about the utility of debuggers for
 > functional langugages. He was of the opinion that they are not very useful
 > at all (for a functional language), and wondered if anyone even uses, for
 > instance, the OCaml debugger. Based on google-ing I have done, it looks like
 > it *is* used, but it's hard to get a good impression from just a web crawl.
 > So:
 > - Do you personally find the OCaml debugger useful?
 > - Is there any sort of general opinion in the OCaml community about the
 > debugger?

I agree: the ocaml debugger is not very useful because usually if your
ocaml code compiles it is correct :-)

I've used  the ocaml debugger  a few times,  however, and it  is quite
nice.  Navigating in  the source  under Emacs  and the  ability  to go
backward is really great. I never spent more than a few minutes inside
the debugger.  The ocaml debugger also  has a few  drawbacks. Code for
pretty-printers have  to be loaded  as a separate  code and this  is a
pain:  the  ocaml  debugger  tries  to load  all  the  needed  modules
recursively but often fails doing  so (because there is a .mli without
a .ml, a module hidden into  some library, etc.) It would be much more
easy to  use pretty-printers from  the code you're debugging,  even if
the  debugger  has to  load  it twice,  since  you  usually have  some
pretty-printers for  your abstract data  types. It would be  even more
useful if the  debugger could print the values  in abstract data types
(we don't need abstraction anymore, we are in the debugger).

My  impression is  that  the  ocaml debugger  is  not fully  debugged,
probably  because the  ocaml team,  as  most of  us, does  not need  a
debugger at all :-)


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