debugging.texi 39 KB
Newer Older
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
1 2
@c -*-texinfo-*-
@c This is part of the GNU Emacs Lisp Reference Manual.
Paul Eggert's avatar
Paul Eggert committed
3
@c Copyright (C) 1990-1994, 1998-1999, 2001-2016 Free Software
4
@c Foundation, Inc.
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
5
@c See the file elisp.texi for copying conditions.
6
@node Debugging
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
7
@chapter Debugging Lisp Programs
8
@cindex debugging lisp programs
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
9

10 11
  There are several ways to find and investigate problems in an Emacs
Lisp program.
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
12 13 14

@itemize @bullet
@item
15 16 17
If a problem occurs when you run the program, you can use the built-in
Emacs Lisp debugger to suspend the Lisp evaluator, and examine and/or
alter its internal state.
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
18 19

@item
20
You can use Edebug, a source-level debugger for Emacs Lisp.
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
21 22

@item
23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35
If a syntactic problem is preventing Lisp from even reading the
program, you can locate it using Lisp editing commands.

@item
You can look at the error and warning messages produced by the byte
compiler when it compiles the program.  @xref{Compiler Errors}.

@item
You can use the Testcover package to perform coverage testing on the
program.

@item
You can use the ERT package to write regression tests for the program.
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
36
@xref{Top,the ERT manual,, ert, ERT: Emacs Lisp Regression Testing}.
37 38 39

@item
You can profile the program to get hints about how to make it more efficient.
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
40 41
@end itemize

42 43 44 45
  Other useful tools for debugging input and output problems are the
dribble file (@pxref{Terminal Input}) and the @code{open-termscript}
function (@pxref{Terminal Output}).

Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
46
@menu
47
* Debugger::            A debugger for the Emacs Lisp evaluator.
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
48
* Edebug::              A source-level Emacs Lisp debugger.
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
49 50
* Syntax Errors::       How to find syntax errors.
* Test Coverage::       Ensuring you have tested all branches in your code.
51
* Profiling::           Measuring the resources that your code uses.
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69
@end menu

@node Debugger
@section The Lisp Debugger
@cindex debugger for Emacs Lisp
@cindex Lisp debugger
@cindex break

  The ordinary @dfn{Lisp debugger} provides the ability to suspend
evaluation of a form.  While evaluation is suspended (a state that is
commonly known as a @dfn{break}), you may examine the run time stack,
examine the values of local or global variables, or change those values.
Since a break is a recursive edit, all the usual editing facilities of
Emacs are available; you can even run programs that will enter the
debugger recursively.  @xref{Recursive Editing}.

@menu
* Error Debugging::       Entering the debugger when an error happens.
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
70
* Infinite Loops::        Stopping and debugging a program that doesn't exit.
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
71
* Function Debugging::    Entering it when a certain function is called.
Noam Postavsky's avatar
Noam Postavsky committed
72
* Variable Debugging::    Entering it when a variable is modified.
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89
* Explicit Debug::        Entering it at a certain point in the program.
* Using Debugger::        What the debugger does; what you see while in it.
* Debugger Commands::     Commands used while in the debugger.
* Invoking the Debugger:: How to call the function @code{debug}.
* Internals of Debugger:: Subroutines of the debugger, and global variables.
@end menu

@node Error Debugging
@subsection Entering the Debugger on an Error
@cindex error debugging
@cindex debugging errors

  The most important time to enter the debugger is when a Lisp error
happens.  This allows you to investigate the immediate causes of the
error.

  However, entry to the debugger is not a normal consequence of an
90 91 92 93 94 95
error.  Many commands signal Lisp errors when invoked inappropriately,
and during ordinary editing it would be very inconvenient to enter the
debugger each time this happens.  So if you want errors to enter the
debugger, set the variable @code{debug-on-error} to non-@code{nil}.
(The command @code{toggle-debug-on-error} provides an easy way to do
this.)
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
96 97

@defopt debug-on-error
98 99 100 101
This variable determines whether the debugger is called when an error
is signaled and not handled.  If @code{debug-on-error} is @code{t},
all kinds of errors call the debugger, except those listed in
@code{debug-ignored-errors} (see below).  If it is @code{nil}, none
102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109
call the debugger.

The value can also be a list of error conditions (@pxref{Signaling
Errors}).  Then the debugger is called only for error conditions in
this list (except those also listed in @code{debug-ignored-errors}).
For example, if you set @code{debug-on-error} to the list
@code{(void-variable)}, the debugger is only called for errors about a
variable that has no value.
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
110

111 112
Note that @code{eval-expression-debug-on-error} overrides this
variable in some cases; see below.
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
113 114 115 116 117 118 119

When this variable is non-@code{nil}, Emacs does not create an error
handler around process filter functions and sentinels.  Therefore,
errors in these functions also invoke the debugger.  @xref{Processes}.
@end defopt

@defopt debug-ignored-errors
120 121 122 123 124 125 126
This variable specifies errors which should not enter the debugger,
regardless of the value of @code{debug-on-error}.  Its value is a list
of error condition symbols and/or regular expressions.  If the error
has any of those condition symbols, or if the error message matches
any of the regular expressions, then that error does not enter the
debugger.

127 128 129 130 131 132
The normal value of this variable includes @code{user-error}, as well
as several errors that happen often during editing but rarely result
from bugs in Lisp programs.  However, ``rarely'' is not ``never''; if
your program fails with an error that matches this list, you may try
changing this list to debug the error.  The easiest way is usually to
set @code{debug-ignored-errors} to @code{nil}.
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
133 134 135
@end defopt

@defopt eval-expression-debug-on-error
136 137 138
If this variable has a non-@code{nil} value (the default), running the
command @code{eval-expression} causes @code{debug-on-error} to be
temporarily bound to to @code{t}.  @xref{Lisp Eval,, Evaluating
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
139 140
Emacs-Lisp Expressions, emacs, The GNU Emacs Manual}.

141 142
If @code{eval-expression-debug-on-error} is @code{nil}, then the value
of @code{debug-on-error} is not changed during @code{eval-expression}.
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
143 144
@end defopt

145
@defopt debug-on-signal
146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155
Normally, errors caught by @code{condition-case} never invoke the
debugger.  The @code{condition-case} gets a chance to handle the error
before the debugger gets a chance.

If you change @code{debug-on-signal} to a non-@code{nil} value, the
debugger gets the first chance at every error, regardless of the
presence of @code{condition-case}.  (To invoke the debugger, the error
must still fulfill the criteria specified by @code{debug-on-error} and
@code{debug-ignored-errors}.)

156 157 158 159 160 161 162
@cindex emacsclient, getting a backtrace
@cindex backtrace from emacsclient's @option{--eval}
For example, setting this variable is useful to get a backtrace from
code evaluated by emacsclient's @option{--eval} option.  If Lisp code
evaluated by emacsclient signals an error while this variable is
non-@code{nil}, the backtrace will popup in the running Emacs.

163 164 165 166 167 168
@strong{Warning:} Setting this variable to non-@code{nil} may have
annoying effects.  Various parts of Emacs catch errors in the normal
course of affairs, and you may not even realize that errors happen
there.  If you need to debug code wrapped in @code{condition-case},
consider using @code{condition-case-unless-debug} (@pxref{Handling
Errors}).
169
@end defopt
170

Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
171 172 173 174 175
@defopt debug-on-event
If you set @code{debug-on-event} to a special event (@pxref{Special
Events}), Emacs will try to enter the debugger as soon as it receives
this event, bypassing @code{special-event-map}.  At present, the only
supported values correspond to the signals @code{SIGUSR1} and
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
176 177
@code{SIGUSR2} (this is the default).  This can be helpful when
@code{inhibit-quit} is set and Emacs is not otherwise responding.
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
178 179
@end defopt

180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187
@cindex message, finding what causes a particular message
@defvar debug-on-message
If you set @code{debug-on-message} to a regular expression,
Emacs will enter the debugger if it displays a matching message in the
echo area.  For example, this can be useful when trying to find the
cause of a particular message.
@end defvar

Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201
  To debug an error that happens during loading of the init
file, use the option @samp{--debug-init}.  This binds
@code{debug-on-error} to @code{t} while loading the init file, and
bypasses the @code{condition-case} which normally catches errors in the
init file.

@node Infinite Loops
@subsection Debugging Infinite Loops
@cindex infinite loops
@cindex loops, infinite
@cindex quitting from infinite loop
@cindex stopping an infinite loop

  When a program loops infinitely and fails to return, your first
202 203
problem is to stop the loop.  On most operating systems, you can do
this with @kbd{C-g}, which causes a @dfn{quit}.  @xref{Quitting}.
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
204 205 206

  Ordinary quitting gives no information about why the program was
looping.  To get more information, you can set the variable
207 208 209 210
@code{debug-on-quit} to non-@code{nil}.  Once you have the debugger
running in the middle of the infinite loop, you can proceed from the
debugger using the stepping commands.  If you step through the entire
loop, you may get enough information to solve the problem.
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
211

212 213 214
  Quitting with @kbd{C-g} is not considered an error, and
@code{debug-on-error} has no effect on the handling of @kbd{C-g}.
Likewise, @code{debug-on-quit} has no effect on errors.
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
215 216

@defopt debug-on-quit
217 218 219 220 221
This variable determines whether the debugger is called when
@code{quit} is signaled and not handled.  If @code{debug-on-quit} is
non-@code{nil}, then the debugger is called whenever you quit (that
is, type @kbd{C-g}).  If @code{debug-on-quit} is @code{nil} (the
default), then the debugger is not called when you quit.
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237
@end defopt

@node Function Debugging
@subsection Entering the Debugger on a Function Call
@cindex function call debugging
@cindex debugging specific functions

  To investigate a problem that happens in the middle of a program, one
useful technique is to enter the debugger whenever a certain function is
called.  You can do this to the function in which the problem occurs,
and then step through the function, or you can do this to a function
called shortly before the problem, step quickly over the call to that
function, and then step through its caller.

@deffn Command debug-on-entry function-name
This function requests @var{function-name} to invoke the debugger each
238
time it is called.
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
239 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 291 292 293

Any function or macro defined as Lisp code may be set to break on
entry, regardless of whether it is interpreted code or compiled code.
If the function is a command, it will enter the debugger when called
from Lisp and when called interactively (after the reading of the
arguments).  You can also set debug-on-entry for primitive functions
(i.e., those written in C) this way, but it only takes effect when the
primitive is called from Lisp code.  Debug-on-entry is not allowed for
special forms.

When @code{debug-on-entry} is called interactively, it prompts for
@var{function-name} in the minibuffer.  If the function is already set
up to invoke the debugger on entry, @code{debug-on-entry} does nothing.
@code{debug-on-entry} always returns @var{function-name}.

Here's an example to illustrate use of this function:

@example
@group
(defun fact (n)
  (if (zerop n) 1
      (* n (fact (1- n)))))
     @result{} fact
@end group
@group
(debug-on-entry 'fact)
     @result{} fact
@end group
@group
(fact 3)
@end group

@group
------ Buffer: *Backtrace* ------
Debugger entered--entering a function:
* fact(3)
  eval((fact 3))
  eval-last-sexp-1(nil)
  eval-last-sexp(nil)
  call-interactively(eval-last-sexp)
------ Buffer: *Backtrace* ------
@end group

@end example
@end deffn

@deffn Command cancel-debug-on-entry &optional function-name
This function undoes the effect of @code{debug-on-entry} on
@var{function-name}.  When called interactively, it prompts for
@var{function-name} in the minibuffer.  If @var{function-name} is
omitted or @code{nil}, it cancels break-on-entry for all functions.
Calling @code{cancel-debug-on-entry} does nothing to a function which is
not currently set up to break on entry.
@end deffn

Noam Postavsky's avatar
Noam Postavsky committed
294 295 296 297 298 299 300 301 302 303 304 305 306 307 308 309 310 311 312 313 314 315 316 317 318 319 320 321 322 323
@node Variable Debugging
@subsection Entering the debugger when a variable is modified
@cindex variable write debugging
@cindex debugging changes to variables

Sometimes a problem with a function is due to a wrong setting of a
variable.  Setting up the debugger to trigger whenever the variable is
changed is a quick way to find the origin of the setting.

@deffn Command debug-on-variable-change variable
This function arranges for the debugger to be called whenever
@var{variable} is modified.

It is implemented using the watchpoint mechanism, so it inherits the
same characteristics and limitations: all aliases of @var{variable}
will be watched together, only dynamic variables can be watched, and
changes to the objects referenced by variables are not detected.  For
details, see @ref{Watching Variables}.
@end deffn

@deffn Command cancel-debug-on-variable-change &optional variable
This function undoes the effect of @code{debug-on-variable-change} on
@var{variable}.  When called interactively, it prompts for
@var{variable} in the minibuffer.  If @var{variable} is omitted or
@code{nil}, it cancels break-on-change for all variables.  Calling
@code{cancel-debug-on-variable-change} does nothing to a variable
which is not currently set up to break on change.
@end deffn


Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
324 325
@node Explicit Debug
@subsection Explicit Entry to the Debugger
326 327
@cindex debugger, explicit entry
@cindex force entry to debugger
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
328 329 330 331 332 333 334 335 336 337 338 339 340 341

  You can cause the debugger to be called at a certain point in your
program by writing the expression @code{(debug)} at that point.  To do
this, visit the source file, insert the text @samp{(debug)} at the
proper place, and type @kbd{C-M-x} (@code{eval-defun}, a Lisp mode key
binding).  @strong{Warning:} if you do this for temporary debugging
purposes, be sure to undo this insertion before you save the file!

  The place where you insert @samp{(debug)} must be a place where an
additional form can be evaluated and its value ignored.  (If the value
of @code{(debug)} isn't ignored, it will alter the execution of the
program!)  The most common suitable places are inside a @code{progn} or
an implicit @code{progn} (@pxref{Sequencing}).

342 343 344 345 346
  If you don't know exactly where in the source code you want to put
the debug statement, but you want to display a backtrace when a
certain message is displayed, you can set @code{debug-on-message} to a
regular expression matching the desired message.

Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
347 348 349 350
@node Using Debugger
@subsection Using the Debugger

  When the debugger is entered, it displays the previously selected
351
buffer in one window and a buffer named @file{*Backtrace*} in another
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
352 353 354 355 356 357
window.  The backtrace buffer contains one line for each level of Lisp
function execution currently going on.  At the beginning of this buffer
is a message describing the reason that the debugger was invoked (such
as the error message and associated data, if it was invoked due to an
error).

Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
358
@vindex debugger-bury-or-kill
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
359 360 361 362 363 364 365 366
  The backtrace buffer is read-only and uses a special major mode,
Debugger mode, in which letters are defined as debugger commands.  The
usual Emacs editing commands are available; thus, you can switch windows
to examine the buffer that was being edited at the time of the error,
switch buffers, visit files, or do any other sort of editing.  However,
the debugger is a recursive editing level (@pxref{Recursive Editing})
and it is wise to go back to the backtrace buffer and exit the debugger
(with the @kbd{q} command) when you are finished with it.  Exiting
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
367 368 369 370 371 372
the debugger gets out of the recursive edit and buries the backtrace
buffer.  (You can customize what the @kbd{q} command does with the
backtrace buffer by setting the variable @code{debugger-bury-or-kill}.
For example, set it to @code{kill} if you prefer to kill the buffer
rather than bury it.  Consult the variable's documentation for more
possibilities.)
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
373

374 375 376 377 378 379
  When the debugger has been entered, the @code{debug-on-error}
variable is temporarily set according to
@code{eval-expression-debug-on-error}.  If the latter variable is
non-@code{nil}, @code{debug-on-error} will temporarily be set to
@code{t}.  This means that any further errors that occur while doing a
debugging session will (by default) trigger another backtrace.  If
380
this is not what you want, you can either set
381 382 383
@code{eval-expression-debug-on-error} to @code{nil}, or set
@code{debug-on-error} to @code{nil} in @code{debugger-mode-hook}.

Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
384 385 386 387 388 389 390 391 392 393 394 395
@cindex current stack frame
  The backtrace buffer shows you the functions that are executing and
their argument values.  It also allows you to specify a stack frame by
moving point to the line describing that frame.  (A stack frame is the
place where the Lisp interpreter records information about a particular
invocation of a function.)  The frame whose line point is on is
considered the @dfn{current frame}.  Some of the debugger commands
operate on the current frame.  If a line starts with a star, that means
that exiting that frame will call the debugger again.  This is useful
for examining the return value of a function.

  If a function name is underlined, that means the debugger knows
396 397
where its source code is located.  You can click with the mouse on
that name, or move to it and type @key{RET}, to visit the source code.
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
398 399 400 401 402 403 404 405 406 407 408 409 410 411 412 413 414 415 416 417 418

  The debugger itself must be run byte-compiled, since it makes
assumptions about how many stack frames are used for the debugger
itself.  These assumptions are false if the debugger is running
interpreted.

@node Debugger Commands
@subsection Debugger Commands
@cindex debugger command list

  The debugger buffer (in Debugger mode) provides special commands in
addition to the usual Emacs commands.  The most important use of
debugger commands is for stepping through code, so that you can see
how control flows.  The debugger can step through the control
structures of an interpreted function, but cannot do so in a
byte-compiled function.  If you would like to step through a
byte-compiled function, replace it with an interpreted definition of
the same function.  (To do this, visit the source for the function and
type @kbd{C-M-x} on its definition.)  You cannot use the Lisp debugger
to step through a primitive function.

419
@c FIXME: Add @findex for the following commands?  --xfq
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
420 421 422 423
  Here is a list of Debugger mode commands:

@table @kbd
@item c
424 425 426 427
Exit the debugger and continue execution.  This resumes execution of
the program as if the debugger had never been entered (aside from any
side-effects that you caused by changing variable values or data
structures while inside the debugger).
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
428 429 430 431 432 433 434 435 436 437 438 439 440 441 442 443 444 445 446 447 448 449 450 451 452 453 454 455

@item d
Continue execution, but enter the debugger the next time any Lisp
function is called.  This allows you to step through the
subexpressions of an expression, seeing what values the subexpressions
compute, and what else they do.

The stack frame made for the function call which enters the debugger in
this way will be flagged automatically so that the debugger will be
called again when the frame is exited.  You can use the @kbd{u} command
to cancel this flag.

@item b
Flag the current frame so that the debugger will be entered when the
frame is exited.  Frames flagged in this way are marked with stars
in the backtrace buffer.

@item u
Don't enter the debugger when the current frame is exited.  This
cancels a @kbd{b} command on that frame.  The visible effect is to
remove the star from the line in the backtrace buffer.

@item j
Flag the current frame like @kbd{b}.  Then continue execution like
@kbd{c}, but temporarily disable break-on-entry for all functions that
are set up to do so by @code{debug-on-entry}.

@item e
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
456 457
Read a Lisp expression in the minibuffer, evaluate it (with the
relevant lexical environment, if applicable), and print the
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
458 459 460 461 462 463 464 465 466
value in the echo area.  The debugger alters certain important
variables, and the current buffer, as part of its operation; @kbd{e}
temporarily restores their values from outside the debugger, so you can
examine and change them.  This makes the debugger more transparent.  By
contrast, @kbd{M-:} does nothing special in the debugger; it shows you
the variable values within the debugger.

@item R
Like @kbd{e}, but also save the result of evaluation in the
467
buffer @file{*Debugger-record*}.
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
468 469 470 471 472 473 474 475 476 477 478 479 480 481 482 483 484 485 486 487 488 489 490 491

@item q
Terminate the program being debugged; return to top-level Emacs
command execution.

If the debugger was entered due to a @kbd{C-g} but you really want
to quit, and not debug, use the @kbd{q} command.

@item r
Return a value from the debugger.  The value is computed by reading an
expression with the minibuffer and evaluating it.

The @kbd{r} command is useful when the debugger was invoked due to exit
from a Lisp call frame (as requested with @kbd{b} or by entering the
frame with @kbd{d}); then the value specified in the @kbd{r} command is
used as the value of that frame.  It is also useful if you call
@code{debug} and use its return value.  Otherwise, @kbd{r} has the same
effect as @kbd{c}, and the specified return value does not matter.

You can't use @kbd{r} when the debugger was entered due to an error.

@item l
Display a list of functions that will invoke the debugger when called.
This is a list of functions that are set to break on entry by means of
492
@code{debug-on-entry}.
493 494

@item v
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
495
Toggle the display of local variables of the current stack frame.
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
496 497 498 499
@end table

@node Invoking the Debugger
@subsection Invoking the Debugger
500
@cindex invoking lisp debugger
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
501 502 503 504

  Here we describe in full detail the function @code{debug} that is used
to invoke the debugger.

505
@deffn Command debug &rest debugger-args
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
506
This function enters the debugger.  It switches buffers to a buffer
507
named @file{*Backtrace*} (or @file{*Backtrace*<2>} if it is the second
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
508 509 510 511 512 513 514 515 516 517
recursive entry to the debugger, etc.), and fills it with information
about the stack of Lisp function calls.  It then enters a recursive
edit, showing the backtrace buffer in Debugger mode.

The Debugger mode @kbd{c}, @kbd{d}, @kbd{j}, and @kbd{r} commands exit
the recursive edit; then @code{debug} switches back to the previous
buffer and returns to whatever called @code{debug}.  This is the only
way the function @code{debug} can return to its caller.

The use of the @var{debugger-args} is that @code{debug} displays the
518
rest of its arguments at the top of the @file{*Backtrace*} buffer, so
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
519 520 521 522 523 524 525 526 527 528 529 530 531 532 533 534 535 536 537 538 539 540 541 542 543 544 545 546 547 548 549 550 551 552 553 554 555 556 557 558 559 560 561 562 563 564 565 566 567 568 569 570 571 572 573 574 575 576 577 578 579 580 581 582 583 584 585 586 587 588 589 590 591
that the user can see them.  Except as described below, this is the
@emph{only} way these arguments are used.

However, certain values for first argument to @code{debug} have a
special significance.  (Normally, these values are used only by the
internals of Emacs, and not by programmers calling @code{debug}.)  Here
is a table of these special values:

@table @code
@item lambda
@cindex @code{lambda} in debug
A first argument of @code{lambda} means @code{debug} was called
because of entry to a function when @code{debug-on-next-call} was
non-@code{nil}.  The debugger displays @samp{Debugger
entered--entering a function:} as a line of text at the top of the
buffer.

@item debug
@code{debug} as first argument means @code{debug} was called because
of entry to a function that was set to debug on entry.  The debugger
displays the string @samp{Debugger entered--entering a function:},
just as in the @code{lambda} case.  It also marks the stack frame for
that function so that it will invoke the debugger when exited.

@item t
When the first argument is @code{t}, this indicates a call to
@code{debug} due to evaluation of a function call form when
@code{debug-on-next-call} is non-@code{nil}.  The debugger displays
@samp{Debugger entered--beginning evaluation of function call form:}
as the top line in the buffer.

@item exit
When the first argument is @code{exit}, it indicates the exit of a
stack frame previously marked to invoke the debugger on exit.  The
second argument given to @code{debug} in this case is the value being
returned from the frame.  The debugger displays @samp{Debugger
entered--returning value:} in the top line of the buffer, followed by
the value being returned.

@item error
@cindex @code{error} in debug
When the first argument is @code{error}, the debugger indicates that
it is being entered because an error or @code{quit} was signaled and
not handled, by displaying @samp{Debugger entered--Lisp error:}
followed by the error signaled and any arguments to @code{signal}.
For example,

@example
@group
(let ((debug-on-error t))
  (/ 1 0))
@end group

@group
------ Buffer: *Backtrace* ------
Debugger entered--Lisp error: (arith-error)
  /(1 0)
...
------ Buffer: *Backtrace* ------
@end group
@end example

If an error was signaled, presumably the variable
@code{debug-on-error} is non-@code{nil}.  If @code{quit} was signaled,
then presumably the variable @code{debug-on-quit} is non-@code{nil}.

@item nil
Use @code{nil} as the first of the @var{debugger-args} when you want
to enter the debugger explicitly.  The rest of the @var{debugger-args}
are printed on the top line of the buffer.  You can use this feature to
display messages---for example, to remind yourself of the conditions
under which @code{debug} is called.
@end table
592
@end deffn
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
593 594 595 596 597 598 599 600 601 602 603 604 605 606 607 608 609 610 611 612 613 614 615 616

@node Internals of Debugger
@subsection Internals of the Debugger

  This section describes functions and variables used internally by the
debugger.

@defvar debugger
The value of this variable is the function to call to invoke the
debugger.  Its value must be a function of any number of arguments, or,
more typically, the name of a function.  This function should invoke
some kind of debugger.  The default value of the variable is
@code{debug}.

The first argument that Lisp hands to the function indicates why it
was called.  The convention for arguments is detailed in the description
of @code{debug} (@pxref{Invoking the Debugger}).
@end defvar

@deffn Command backtrace
@cindex run time stack
@cindex call stack
This function prints a trace of Lisp function calls currently active.
This is the function used by @code{debug} to fill up the
617
@file{*Backtrace*} buffer.  It is written in C, since it must have access
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
618 619 620 621 622 623 624 625 626 627 628 629 630 631 632 633 634 635 636 637 638 639 640 641 642 643 644 645 646 647 648 649 650 651 652 653 654 655 656 657 658 659 660 661 662 663
to the stack to determine which function calls are active.  The return
value is always @code{nil}.

In the following example, a Lisp expression calls @code{backtrace}
explicitly.  This prints the backtrace to the stream
@code{standard-output}, which, in this case, is the buffer
@samp{backtrace-output}.

Each line of the backtrace represents one function call.  The line shows
the values of the function's arguments if they are all known; if they
are still being computed, the line says so.  The arguments of special
forms are elided.

@smallexample
@group
(with-output-to-temp-buffer "backtrace-output"
  (let ((var 1))
    (save-excursion
      (setq var (eval '(progn
                         (1+ var)
                         (list 'testing (backtrace))))))))

     @result{} (testing nil)
@end group

@group
----------- Buffer: backtrace-output ------------
  backtrace()
  (list ...computing arguments...)
@end group
  (progn ...)
  eval((progn (1+ var) (list (quote testing) (backtrace))))
  (setq ...)
  (save-excursion ...)
  (let ...)
  (with-output-to-temp-buffer ...)
  eval((with-output-to-temp-buffer ...))
  eval-last-sexp-1(nil)
@group
  eval-last-sexp(nil)
  call-interactively(eval-last-sexp)
----------- Buffer: backtrace-output ------------
@end group
@end smallexample
@end deffn

664 665 666 667 668 669 670 671 672 673 674 675 676 677 678 679 680 681 682 683 684 685 686 687 688 689 690 691 692 693 694
@defvar debugger-stack-frame-as-list
If this variable is non-@code{nil}, every stack frame of the backtrace
is displayed as a list.  This aims at improving the backtrace
readability at the cost of special forms no longer being visually
different from regular function calls.

With @code{debugger-stack-frame-as-list} non-@code{nil}, the above
example would look as follows:

@smallexample
@group
----------- Buffer: backtrace-output ------------
  (backtrace)
  (list ...computing arguments...)
@end group
  (progn ...)
  (eval (progn (1+ var) (list (quote testing) (backtrace))))
  (setq ...)
  (save-excursion ...)
  (let ...)
  (with-output-to-temp-buffer ...)
  (eval (with-output-to-temp-buffer ...))
  (eval-last-sexp-1 nil)
@group
  (eval-last-sexp nil)
  (call-interactively eval-last-sexp)
----------- Buffer: backtrace-output ------------
@end group
@end smallexample
@end defvar

Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
695 696 697 698 699 700 701 702 703 704 705 706 707 708 709 710 711 712 713 714 715 716 717 718 719 720 721 722 723 724 725
@defvar debug-on-next-call
@cindex @code{eval}, and debugging
@cindex @code{apply}, and debugging
@cindex @code{funcall}, and debugging
If this variable is non-@code{nil}, it says to call the debugger before
the next @code{eval}, @code{apply} or @code{funcall}.  Entering the
debugger sets @code{debug-on-next-call} to @code{nil}.

The @kbd{d} command in the debugger works by setting this variable.
@end defvar

@defun backtrace-debug level flag
This function sets the debug-on-exit flag of the stack frame @var{level}
levels down the stack, giving it the value @var{flag}.  If @var{flag} is
non-@code{nil}, this will cause the debugger to be entered when that
frame later exits.  Even a nonlocal exit through that frame will enter
the debugger.

This function is used only by the debugger.
@end defun

@defvar command-debug-status
This variable records the debugging status of the current interactive
command.  Each time a command is called interactively, this variable is
bound to @code{nil}.  The debugger can set this variable to leave
information for future debugger invocations during the same command
invocation.

The advantage of using this variable rather than an ordinary global
variable is that the data will never carry over to a subsequent command
invocation.
726 727

This variable is obsolete and will be removed in future versions.
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
728 729
@end defvar

730
@defun backtrace-frame frame-number &optional base
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
731 732 733 734 735 736 737 738 739 740 741 742 743 744 745 746
The function @code{backtrace-frame} is intended for use in Lisp
debuggers.  It returns information about what computation is happening
in the stack frame @var{frame-number} levels down.

If that frame has not evaluated the arguments yet, or is a special
form, the value is @code{(nil @var{function} @var{arg-forms}@dots{})}.

If that frame has evaluated its arguments and called its function
already, the return value is @code{(t @var{function}
@var{arg-values}@dots{})}.

In the return value, @var{function} is whatever was supplied as the
@sc{car} of the evaluated list, or a @code{lambda} expression in the
case of a macro call.  If the function has a @code{&rest} argument, that
is represented as the tail of the list @var{arg-values}.

747 748 749
If @var{base} is specified, @var{frame-number} counts relative to
the topmost frame whose @var{function} is @var{base}.

Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
750 751 752 753
If @var{frame-number} is out of range, @code{backtrace-frame} returns
@code{nil}.
@end defun

754 755 756 757 758 759 760 761 762 763 764 765 766 767 768 769 770 771
@defun mapbacktrace function &optional base
The function @code{mapbacktrace} calls @var{function} once for each
frame in the backtrace, starting at the first frame whose function is
@var{base} (or from the top if @var{base} is omitted or @code{nil}).

@var{function} is called with four arguments: @var{evald}, @var{func},
@var{args}, and @var{flags}.

If a frame has not evaluated its arguments yet or is a special form,
@var{evald} is @code{nil} and @var{args} is a list of forms.

If a frame has evaluated its arguments and called its function
already, @var{evald} is @code{t} and @var{args} is a list of values.
@var{flags} is a plist of properties of the current frame: currently,
the only supported property is @code{:debug-on-exit}, which is
@code{t} if the stack frame's @code{debug-on-exit} flag is set.
@end defun

Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
772 773 774 775 776 777 778
@include edebug.texi

@node Syntax Errors
@section Debugging Invalid Lisp Syntax
@cindex debugging invalid Lisp syntax

  The Lisp reader reports invalid syntax, but cannot say where the real
Paul Eggert's avatar
Paul Eggert committed
779
problem is.  For example, the error @samp{End of file during parsing} in
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
780 781 782
evaluating an expression indicates an excess of open parentheses (or
square brackets).  The reader detects this imbalance at the end of the
file, but it cannot figure out where the close parenthesis should have
Paul Eggert's avatar
Paul Eggert committed
783
been.  Likewise, @samp{Invalid read syntax: ")"} indicates an excess close
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
784 785 786 787 788 789 790 791 792 793 794 795 796 797 798 799 800 801 802 803 804 805
parenthesis or missing open parenthesis, but does not say where the
missing parenthesis belongs.  How, then, to find what to change?

  If the problem is not simply an imbalance of parentheses, a useful
technique is to try @kbd{C-M-e} at the beginning of each defun, and see
if it goes to the place where that defun appears to end.  If it does
not, there is a problem in that defun.

@cindex unbalanced parentheses
@cindex parenthesis mismatch, debugging
  However, unmatched parentheses are the most common syntax errors in
Lisp, and we can give further advice for those cases.  (In addition,
just moving point through the code with Show Paren mode enabled might
find the mismatch.)

@menu
* Excess Open::     How to find a spurious open paren or missing close.
* Excess Close::    How to find a spurious close paren or missing open.
@end menu

@node Excess Open
@subsection Excess Open Parentheses
806
@cindex excess open parentheses
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
807 808 809 810 811 812 813 814 815 816 817 818 819 820 821 822 823 824 825 826 827 828 829 830 831 832 833 834 835 836 837 838 839 840

  The first step is to find the defun that is unbalanced.  If there is
an excess open parenthesis, the way to do this is to go to the end of
the file and type @kbd{C-u C-M-u}.  This will move you to the
beginning of the first defun that is unbalanced.

  The next step is to determine precisely what is wrong.  There is no
way to be sure of this except by studying the program, but often the
existing indentation is a clue to where the parentheses should have
been.  The easiest way to use this clue is to reindent with @kbd{C-M-q}
and see what moves.  @strong{But don't do this yet!}  Keep reading,
first.

  Before you do this, make sure the defun has enough close parentheses.
Otherwise, @kbd{C-M-q} will get an error, or will reindent all the rest
of the file until the end.  So move to the end of the defun and insert a
close parenthesis there.  Don't use @kbd{C-M-e} to move there, since
that too will fail to work until the defun is balanced.

  Now you can go to the beginning of the defun and type @kbd{C-M-q}.
Usually all the lines from a certain point to the end of the function
will shift to the right.  There is probably a missing close parenthesis,
or a superfluous open parenthesis, near that point.  (However, don't
assume this is true; study the code to make sure.)  Once you have found
the discrepancy, undo the @kbd{C-M-q} with @kbd{C-_}, since the old
indentation is probably appropriate to the intended parentheses.

  After you think you have fixed the problem, use @kbd{C-M-q} again.  If
the old indentation actually fit the intended nesting of parentheses,
and you have put back those parentheses, @kbd{C-M-q} should not change
anything.

@node Excess Close
@subsection Excess Close Parentheses
841
@cindex excess close parentheses
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
842 843 844 845 846 847 848 849 850 851 852 853 854 855 856 857 858 859 860 861 862 863 864 865 866 867 868 869 870 871 872 873 874 875 876 877 878 879 880 881 882 883 884 885 886 887 888 889 890 891 892 893 894 895 896 897 898 899 900 901 902 903 904

  To deal with an excess close parenthesis, first go to the beginning
of the file, then type @kbd{C-u -1 C-M-u} to find the end of the first
unbalanced defun.

  Then find the actual matching close parenthesis by typing @kbd{C-M-f}
at the beginning of that defun.  This will leave you somewhere short of
the place where the defun ought to end.  It is possible that you will
find a spurious close parenthesis in that vicinity.

  If you don't see a problem at that point, the next thing to do is to
type @kbd{C-M-q} at the beginning of the defun.  A range of lines will
probably shift left; if so, the missing open parenthesis or spurious
close parenthesis is probably near the first of those lines.  (However,
don't assume this is true; study the code to make sure.)  Once you have
found the discrepancy, undo the @kbd{C-M-q} with @kbd{C-_}, since the
old indentation is probably appropriate to the intended parentheses.

  After you think you have fixed the problem, use @kbd{C-M-q} again.  If
the old indentation actually fits the intended nesting of parentheses,
and you have put back those parentheses, @kbd{C-M-q} should not change
anything.

@node Test Coverage
@section Test Coverage
@cindex coverage testing

@findex testcover-start
@findex testcover-mark-all
@findex testcover-next-mark
  You can do coverage testing for a file of Lisp code by loading the
@code{testcover} library and using the command @kbd{M-x
testcover-start @key{RET} @var{file} @key{RET}} to instrument the
code.  Then test your code by calling it one or more times.  Then use
the command @kbd{M-x testcover-mark-all} to display colored highlights
on the code to show where coverage is insufficient.  The command
@kbd{M-x testcover-next-mark} will move point forward to the next
highlighted spot.

  Normally, a red highlight indicates the form was never completely
evaluated; a brown highlight means it always evaluated to the same
value (meaning there has been little testing of what is done with the
result).  However, the red highlight is skipped for forms that can't
possibly complete their evaluation, such as @code{error}.  The brown
highlight is skipped for forms that are expected to always evaluate to
the same value, such as @code{(setq x 14)}.

  For difficult cases, you can add do-nothing macros to your code to
give advice to the test coverage tool.

@defmac 1value form
Evaluate @var{form} and return its value, but inform coverage testing
that @var{form}'s value should always be the same.
@end defmac

@defmac noreturn form
Evaluate @var{form}, informing coverage testing that @var{form} should
never return.  If it ever does return, you get a run-time error.
@end defmac

  Edebug also has a coverage testing feature (@pxref{Coverage
Testing}).  These features partly duplicate each other, and it would
be cleaner to combine them.
905 906 907 908 909


@node Profiling
@section Profiling
@cindex profiling
910
@cindex profile
911 912 913 914 915
@cindex measuring resource usage
@cindex memory usage

If your program is working correctly, but you want to make it run more
quickly or efficiently, the first thing to do is @dfn{profile} your
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
916
code so that you know how it is using resources.  If you find that one
917
particular function is responsible for a significant portion of the
Glenn Morris's avatar
Glenn Morris committed
918
runtime, you can start looking for ways to optimize that piece.
919 920 921 922 923 924 925 926 927 928 929

Emacs has built-in support for this.  To begin profiling, type
@kbd{M-x profiler-start}.  You can choose to profile by processor
usage, memory usage, or both.  After doing some work, type
@kbd{M-x profiler-report} to display a summary buffer for each
resource that you chose to profile.  The names of the report buffers
include the times at which the reports were generated, so you can
generate another report later on without erasing previous results.
When you have finished profiling, type @kbd{M-x profiler-stop} (there
is a small overhead associated with profiling).

930 931 932 933 934
The profiler report buffer shows, on each line, a function that was
called, followed by how much resource (processor or memory) it used in
absolute and percentage times since profiling started.  If a given
line has a @samp{+} symbol at the left-hand side, you can expand that
line by typing @key{RET}, in order to see the function(s) called by
935 936 937
the higher-level function.  Use a prefix argument (@key{C-u RET}) to
see the whole call tree below a function.  Pressing @key{RET} again
will collapse back to the original state.
938 939 940 941 942

Press @kbd{j} or @kbd{mouse-2} to jump to the definition of a function.
Press @kbd{d} to view a function's documentation.
You can save a profile to a file using @kbd{C-x C-w}.
You can compare two profiles using @kbd{=}.
943

944
@c FIXME reversed calltree?
945 946 947 948 949 950 951 952 953 954 955

@cindex @file{elp.el}
@cindex timing programs
The @file{elp} library offers an alternative approach.  See the file
@file{elp.el} for instructions.

@cindex @file{benchmark.el}
@cindex benchmarking
You can check the speed of individual Emacs Lisp forms using the
@file{benchmark} library.  See the functions @code{benchmark-run} and
@code{benchmark-run-compiled} in @file{benchmark.el}.
956 957 958 959

@c Not worth putting in the printed manual.
@ifnottex
@cindex --enable-profiling option of configure
960
To profile Emacs at the level of its C code, you can build it using the
961 962 963 964 965 966
@option{--enable-profiling} option of @command{configure}.  When Emacs
exits, it generates a file @file{gmon.out} that you can examine using
the @command{gprof} utility.  This feature is mainly useful for
debugging Emacs.  It actually stops the Lisp-level @kbd{M-x
profiler-@dots{}} commands described above from working.
@end ifnottex