Next: , Previous: , Up: Data   [Contents][Index]


10.11 Convenience Variables

GDB provides convenience variables that you can use within GDB to hold on to a value and refer to it later. These variables exist entirely within GDB; they are not part of your program, and setting a convenience variable has no direct effect on further execution of your program. That is why you can use them freely.

Convenience variables are prefixed with ‘$’. Any name preceded by ‘$’ can be used for a convenience variable, unless it is one of the predefined machine-specific register names (see Registers). (Value history references, in contrast, are numbers preceded by ‘$’. See Value History.)

You can save a value in a convenience variable with an assignment expression, just as you would set a variable in your program. For example:

set $foo = *object_ptr

would save in $foo the value contained in the object pointed to by object_ptr.

Using a convenience variable for the first time creates it, but its value is void until you assign a new value. You can alter the value with another assignment at any time.

Convenience variables have no fixed types. You can assign a convenience variable any type of value, including structures and arrays, even if that variable already has a value of a different type. The convenience variable, when used as an expression, has the type of its current value.

show convenience

Print a list of convenience variables used so far, and their values, as well as a list of the convenience functions. Abbreviated show conv.

init-if-undefined $variable = expression

Set a convenience variable if it has not already been set. This is useful for user-defined commands that keep some state. It is similar, in concept, to using local static variables with initializers in C (except that convenience variables are global). It can also be used to allow users to override default values used in a command script.

If the variable is already defined then the expression is not evaluated so any side-effects do not occur.

One of the ways to use a convenience variable is as a counter to be incremented or a pointer to be advanced. For example, to print a field from successive elements of an array of structures:

set $i = 0
print bar[$i++]->contents

Repeat that command by typing RET.

Some convenience variables are created automatically by GDB and given values likely to be useful.

$_

The variable $_ is automatically set by the x command to the last address examined (see Examining Memory). Other commands which provide a default address for x to examine also set $_ to that address; these commands include info line and info breakpoint. The type of $_ is void * except when set by the x command, in which case it is a pointer to the type of $__.

$__

The variable $__ is automatically set by the x command to the value found in the last address examined. Its type is chosen to match the format in which the data was printed.

$_exitcode

When the program being debugged terminates normally, GDB automatically sets this variable to the exit code of the program, and resets $_exitsignal to void.

$_exitsignal

When the program being debugged dies due to an uncaught signal, GDB automatically sets this variable to that signal’s number, and resets $_exitcode to void.

To distinguish between whether the program being debugged has exited (i.e., $_exitcode is not void) or signalled (i.e., $_exitsignal is not void), the convenience function $_isvoid can be used (see Convenience Functions). For example, considering the following source code:

#include <signal.h>

int
main (int argc, char *argv[])
{
  raise (SIGALRM);
  return 0;
}

A valid way of telling whether the program being debugged has exited or signalled would be:

(gdb) define has_exited_or_signalled
Type commands for definition of ``has_exited_or_signalled''.
End with a line saying just ``end''.
>if $_isvoid ($_exitsignal)
 >echo The program has exited\n
 >else
 >echo The program has signalled\n
 >end
>end
(gdb) run
Starting program:

Program terminated with signal SIGALRM, Alarm clock.
The program no longer exists.
(gdb) has_exited_or_signalled
The program has signalled

As can be seen, GDB correctly informs that the program being debugged has signalled, since it calls raise and raises a SIGALRM signal. If the program being debugged had not called raise, then GDB would report a normal exit:

(gdb) has_exited_or_signalled
The program has exited
$_exception

The variable $_exception is set to the exception object being thrown at an exception-related catchpoint. See Set Catchpoints.

$_probe_argc
$_probe_arg0…$_probe_arg11

Arguments to a static probe. See Static Probe Points.

$_sdata

The variable $_sdata contains extra collected static tracepoint data. See Tracepoint Action Lists. Note that $_sdata could be empty, if not inspecting a trace buffer, or if extra static tracepoint data has not been collected.

$_siginfo

The variable $_siginfo contains extra signal information (see extra signal information). Note that $_siginfo could be empty, if the application has not yet received any signals. For example, it will be empty before you execute the run command.

$_tlb

The variable $_tlb is automatically set when debugging applications running on MS-Windows in native mode or connected to gdbserver that supports the qGetTIBAddr request. See General Query Packets. This variable contains the address of the thread information block.

On HP-UX systems, if you refer to a function or variable name that begins with a dollar sign, GDB searches for a user or system name first, before it searches for a convenience variable.


Next: , Previous: , Up: Data   [Contents][Index]