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23.2.2.18 Commands In Python

You can implement new GDB CLI commands in Python. A CLI command is implemented using an instance of the gdb.Command class, most commonly using a subclass.

Function: Command.__init__ (name, command_class [, completer_class [, prefix]])

The object initializer for Command registers the new command with GDB. This initializer is normally invoked from the subclass’ own __init__ method.

name is the name of the command. If name consists of multiple words, then the initial words are looked for as prefix commands. In this case, if one of the prefix commands does not exist, an exception is raised.

There is no support for multi-line commands.

command_class should be one of the ‘COMMAND_’ constants defined below. This argument tells GDB how to categorize the new command in the help system.

completer_class is an optional argument. If given, it should be one of the ‘COMPLETE_’ constants defined below. This argument tells GDB how to perform completion for this command. If not given, GDB will attempt to complete using the object’s complete method (see below); if no such method is found, an error will occur when completion is attempted.

prefix is an optional argument. If True, then the new command is a prefix command; sub-commands of this command may be registered.

The help text for the new command is taken from the Python documentation string for the command’s class, if there is one. If no documentation string is provided, the default value “This command is not documented.” is used.

Function: Command.dont_repeat ()

By default, a GDB command is repeated when the user enters a blank line at the command prompt. A command can suppress this behavior by invoking the dont_repeat method. This is similar to the user command dont-repeat, see dont-repeat.

Function: Command.invoke (argument, from_tty)

This method is called by GDB when this command is invoked.

argument is a string. It is the argument to the command, after leading and trailing whitespace has been stripped.

from_tty is a boolean argument. When true, this means that the command was entered by the user at the terminal; when false it means that the command came from elsewhere.

If this method throws an exception, it is turned into a GDB error call. Otherwise, the return value is ignored.

To break argument up into an argv-like string use gdb.string_to_argv. This function behaves identically to GDB’s internal argument lexer buildargv. It is recommended to use this for consistency. Arguments are separated by spaces and may be quoted. Example:

print gdb.string_to_argv ("1 2\ \\\"3 '4 \"5' \"6 '7\"")
['1', '2 "3', '4 "5', "6 '7"]
Function: Command.complete (text, word)

This method is called by GDB when the user attempts completion on this command. All forms of completion are handled by this method, that is, the TAB and M-? key bindings (see Completion), and the complete command (see complete).

The arguments text and word are both strings; text holds the complete command line up to the cursor’s location, while word holds the last word of the command line; this is computed using a word-breaking heuristic.

The complete method can return several values:

When a new command is registered, it must be declared as a member of some general class of commands. This is used to classify top-level commands in the on-line help system; note that prefix commands are not listed under their own category but rather that of their top-level command. The available classifications are represented by constants defined in the gdb module:

gdb.COMMAND_NONE

The command does not belong to any particular class. A command in this category will not be displayed in any of the help categories.

gdb.COMMAND_RUNNING

The command is related to running the inferior. For example, start, step, and continue are in this category. Type help running at the GDB prompt to see a list of commands in this category.

gdb.COMMAND_DATA

The command is related to data or variables. For example, call, find, and print are in this category. Type help data at the GDB prompt to see a list of commands in this category.

gdb.COMMAND_STACK

The command has to do with manipulation of the stack. For example, backtrace, frame, and return are in this category. Type help stack at the GDB prompt to see a list of commands in this category.

gdb.COMMAND_FILES

This class is used for file-related commands. For example, file, list and section are in this category. Type help files at the GDB prompt to see a list of commands in this category.

gdb.COMMAND_SUPPORT

This should be used for “support facilities”, generally meaning things that are useful to the user when interacting with GDB, but not related to the state of the inferior. For example, help, make, and shell are in this category. Type help support at the GDB prompt to see a list of commands in this category.

gdb.COMMAND_STATUS

The command is an ‘info’-related command, that is, related to the state of GDB itself. For example, info, macro, and show are in this category. Type help status at the GDB prompt to see a list of commands in this category.

gdb.COMMAND_BREAKPOINTS

The command has to do with breakpoints. For example, break, clear, and delete are in this category. Type help breakpoints at the GDB prompt to see a list of commands in this category.

gdb.COMMAND_TRACEPOINTS

The command has to do with tracepoints. For example, trace, actions, and tfind are in this category. Type help tracepoints at the GDB prompt to see a list of commands in this category.

gdb.COMMAND_USER

The command is a general purpose command for the user, and typically does not fit in one of the other categories. Type help user-defined at the GDB prompt to see a list of commands in this category, as well as the list of gdb macros (see Sequences).

gdb.COMMAND_OBSCURE

The command is only used in unusual circumstances, or is not of general interest to users. For example, checkpoint, fork, and stop are in this category. Type help obscure at the GDB prompt to see a list of commands in this category.

gdb.COMMAND_MAINTENANCE

The command is only useful to GDB maintainers. The maintenance and flushregs commands are in this category. Type help internals at the GDB prompt to see a list of commands in this category.

A new command can use a predefined completion function, either by specifying it via an argument at initialization, or by returning it from the complete method. These predefined completion constants are all defined in the gdb module:

gdb.COMPLETE_NONE

This constant means that no completion should be done.

gdb.COMPLETE_FILENAME

This constant means that filename completion should be performed.

gdb.COMPLETE_LOCATION

This constant means that location completion should be done. See Specify Location.

gdb.COMPLETE_COMMAND

This constant means that completion should examine GDB command names.

gdb.COMPLETE_SYMBOL

This constant means that completion should be done using symbol names as the source.

gdb.COMPLETE_EXPRESSION

This constant means that completion should be done on expressions. Often this means completing on symbol names, but some language parsers also have support for completing on field names.

The following code snippet shows how a trivial CLI command can be implemented in Python:

class HelloWorld (gdb.Command):
  """Greet the whole world."""

  def __init__ (self):
    super (HelloWorld, self).__init__ ("hello-world", gdb.COMMAND_USER)

  def invoke (self, arg, from_tty):
    print "Hello, World!"

HelloWorld ()

The last line instantiates the class, and is necessary to trigger the registration of the command with GDB. Depending on how the Python code is read into GDB, you may need to import the gdb module explicitly.


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