Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 28th Aug 2012 19:20 UTC, submitted by MOS6510
General Development "Coming from a background in higher-level languages like Ruby, Scheme, or Haskell, learning C can be challenging. In addition to having to wrestle with C's lower-level features like manual memory management and pointers, you have to make do without a REPL. Once you get used to exploratory programming in a REPL, having to deal with the write-compile-run loop is a bit of a bummer. It occurred to me recently that I could use gdb as a pseudo-REPL for C. I've been experimenting with using gdb as a tool for learning C, rather than merely debugging C, and it's a lot of fun. My goal in this post is to show you that gdb is a great tool for learning C. I'll introduce you to a few of my favorite gdb commands, and then I'll demonstrate how you can use gdb to understand a notoriously tricky part of C: the difference between arrays and pointers."
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RE[2]: Debuggers
by kwan_e on Wed 29th Aug 2012 08:45 UTC in reply to "RE: Debuggers"
kwan_e
Member since:
2007-02-18

especially if you're dealing with segfault or memory allocation issues which are pretty damn hard to find with print.


Of course.

Importantly for me though is debugging by printing does the important thing of making you review design in the process. You're actively testing your own assumptions of how the design is working. I find that people who use debuggers most of the time tend to fix problems locally rather than wondering if a slight alteration to a design would eliminate whole classes of defects. This makes it even better for learning a new language.

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