Extending gdb.Value

Joel Borggrén-Franck joel.borggren.franck@gmail.com
Thu Sep 30 08:29:00 GMT 2010

On Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 11:23 PM, Tom Tromey <tromey@redhat.com> wrote:
>>>>>> "Joel" == Joel Borggrén-Franck <joel.borggren.franck@gmail.com> writes:
> Joel> So I noticed today that I cant extend gdb.Value:
> Joel> The fix for this is trivial:
> [...]
> Joel> I'm convinced this is a good idea. I got lots of stuff I would like to
> Joel> add on top of gdb.Value that only makes sense in the context of
> Joel> specific applications.
> Joel> So how can I test that this doesn't break anything? And which other
> Joel> python types are suitable for being bases. Why not add all of them?
> I think the reason things are the way they are is due to a mix of
> ignorance and conservatism.  That is, we probably didn't think about it
> early on (I know I didn't), and also we've generally tried to reduce our
> exposure to "weird stuff" in case we need to make changes.
> Could you elaborate on the uses to which you intend to put this?
> That would be helpful.

The first use case is while debugging a virtual machine for a class-based
language. There are a lot of data on the heap of the target language that
to gdb looks like:

struct heapObj {
  int flags;
  clazz *cls;
  u8 first_byte_of_fields[1];

concatenated with a chunk of fields that only make sense with help from
data stored in cls. For example, the length of this object can't be
determined without looking it up through cls.

I would like to abstract over this by creating a subclass of gdb.Value that
overrides __getitem__ to do the lookup in the vm's datastructures so that
the heap-objects behaves just the same as regular gdb.Values. IE
my_heap_obj['foo'] should lookup the offset of 'foo' through cls, and return
a new HeapObject that represents the field 'foo'.

Further, this VM doesn't follow the same stack layout conventions as gcc,
so I can easily see the need to extend gdb.Frame to build a bt and frame
iterator that works. But I'll get back to that later.

Also, why not? Closed/final classes should IMO be avoided in favor of
saying 'hey you can do this, but I wont clean up the mess you create'  :)


More information about the Gdb mailing list