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The Art of Debugging with GDB, DDD, and Eclipse 1st Edition

21 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1593271749
ISBN-10: 1593271743
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About the Author

Norman Matloff, a computer science professor at UC Davis, is the author of several popular public-domain software packages and online tutorials.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: No Starch Press; 1 edition (September 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593271743
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593271749
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #297,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Mark K. on February 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
I must come clean first - I know the authors. Peter asked me to review one of the sections in the book many ages ago when the book was in its infancy. The book has progressed much since then, and I must admit this is much more than I was expecting from a book about debugging!

Chapters 1 through 3 are the starter chapters that discuss the core debugging paradigms such as breakpoints and variable analysis. Chapter 1 goes through some of the basic concepts of debugging for those new to the idea (e.g., hobbyists and just-out-of-college programmers) but it's probably less useful for those already familiar with the concept. Chapter 2 goes through the basic debugging operations, such as setting breakpoints and analyzing variables, with an emphasis on how breakpoints can be set, cleared, and triggered using various methods. Chapter 3 goes through more on how variables of different storages can be viewed and displayed.

Chapters 4 and 5 are where things start to get interesting. Chapter 4 discusses how the debugger can be used to analyze core dumps, and touches on operating system concepts just enough to be productive in debugging for those not familiar with OS architectures. Chapter 5 discusses debugging threaded applications. As examples, applications written using popular multi-threaded and multi-process libraries such as pthread, MPI, and OpenMP are discussed, which makes the chapter more practical.

Chapter 6 is an interesting chapter. Section 6.1 goes through some common compiler error messages and how one should interpret them. They're concepts all first semester programming course students should read.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By talkaboutquality VINE VOICE on September 6, 2010
Format: Paperback
The Art of Debugging isn't really much about the "art", although there is a very brief "principles of debugging" section at the beginning. It is about how to use GDB, DDD, and Eclipse effectively and completely. Very detailed guidance and examples. It's 250 pages but looks like less. If you want to become an expert at debugging software systems, there's probably no substitute for experience, but a concise tutorial on GDB and its various GUIs is a great start.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Hugh C. Lauer on September 14, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are not many books about debugging. This one is a useful compendium of the various techniques that any software engineer should know, So if you do not have a reasonable book about debugging, get this one. However, the title says "with GDB, DDD, and Eclipse." The book is mostly about GDB, with about 15% devoted to DDD and 5% devoted to Eclipse. That is probably okay, because it takes much more instruction to do almost any task in GDB than it does in either of the other two. However, Eclipse-only users will probably be disappointed. (There are many other books about Eclipse, but I could not find any specifically devoted to debugging.)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ken on October 23, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a good book for those new to GDB, which is what I was looking for. It's easy to read, and gets you into GDB quickly. At each step, the reader is shown how to do essential things like setting breakpoints, inspecting memory, and stepping through your program with easy to follow examples. The authors also show how both DDD and Eclipse work in debugging programs, as GDB is the back end for each.

The book isn't meant to be a comprehensive GDB reference, which is fine. Other books fill that role.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael Gautier on September 15, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Command line versus Visual Debugging. When the software is in production on a server, someone else's computer, out in the field, or you need a quick answer, a command-line debugger is the best tool to have available. GDB may already be on the system or you can install it quickly enough not to impact the operating environment. This book is the valuable resource you need to properly understand GDB and use it quickly and precisely for your situation.

My experience with command-line debugging has been trail and error which is useful when information is lacking. When you have a more complete body of information about a tool or process, then you can optimize your efforts and achieve better results. Such is the case with this book and how it will equip persons with the concepts of command-line debugging that they can use in any environment where such debuggers may be available.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dan Hobson on November 25, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book has been the best tool so far for me to get into the world of Linux programming. It took me farther into software debugging than I've ever been. I will be one of the books I keep in my Kindle for reference.
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I've postponed to dive into gdb before because it seemed to me that the effort wouldn't pay off as much as learning how to code better. Well, gdb doesn't reduce the number of bugs I write, but it certainly reduces the time I spend hunting them down.

If you write lots of code in a language that allows you to use gdb, you probably can save time learning how to use gdb or one of its front-ends. Learning how to use a debugger is not only about learning its options and commands, but how you should use it, and this observation shaped this well-written book.

Currently, I think that one should learn programming with the aid of a debugger. Not only would inspecting exactly what happens at each line be didactic, it would help students immensely later on.

I'd like to see a reviewed version of this book including reverse debugging; feature added after the publication of this book.
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The Art of Debugging with GDB, DDD, and Eclipse
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