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The Art of Debugging with GDB, DDD, and Eclipse [Paperback]

Norman Matloff , Peter Jay Salzman
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 29, 2008 1593271743 978-1593271749 1

Debugging is crucial to successful software development, but even many experienced programmers find it challenging. Sophisticated debugging tools are available, yet it may be difficult to determine which features are useful in which situations. The Art of Debugging is your guide to making the debugging process more efficient and effective.

The Art of Debugging illustrates the use three of the most popular debugging tools on Linux/Unix platforms: GDB, DDD, and Eclipse. The text-command based GDB (the GNU Project Debugger) is included with most distributions. DDD is a popular GUI front end for GDB, while Eclipse provides a complete integrated development environment.

In addition to offering specific advice for debugging with each tool, authors Norm Matloff and Pete Salzman cover general strategies for improving the process of finding and fixing coding errors, including how to:

  • Inspect variables and data structures
  • Understand segmentation faults and core dumps
  • Know why your program crashes or throws exceptions
  • Use features like catchpoints, convenience variables, and artificial arrays
  • Avoid common debugging pitfalls

Real world examples of coding errors help to clarify the authors' guiding principles, and coverage of complex topics like thread, client-server, GUI, and parallel programming debugging will make you even more proficient. You'll also learn how to prevent errors in the first place with text editors, compilers, error reporting, and static code checkers.

Whether you dread the thought of debugging your programs or simply want to improve your current debugging efforts, you'll find a valuable ally in The Art of Debugging.

Frequently Bought Together

The Art of Debugging with GDB, DDD, and Eclipse + An Introduction to GCC: For the GNU Compilers GCC and G++ + Valgrind 3.3 - Advanced Debugging and Profiling for Gnu/Linux Applications
Price for all three: $65.67

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Editorial Reviews

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.

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: 9.2 x 7.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #215,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite a gem! February 2, 2009
By Mark K.
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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much better than man gdb September 6, 2010
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A useful book about debugging 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good beginning Intro to GDB October 23, 2011
By Ken
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quickest Way to Learn Debugging in Linux 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good debug read 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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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book for efficient tools. Little bit redundancy. August 17, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The lovely part is the book is written in a way to not only teach knowledge but also to inspire people think of the method of debugging. I have been inspired in reading the book to solve several problems slowing down my debugging for long while, for which the exact method is not covered by the book but without the inspiration I could not find the solution in short.

My personal feeling is, since it is already so inspiring, there is no need to cover three debuggers with overlapping functionality. Just elaborate one and say the other two have or have not equal function will be enough. It is trivial for most readers to induce the usage of the tools they are using. But it maybe for myself only.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Learning to Program
I need this book to help me with programming. Working system programming and I hope this should help. Mostly C.
Published 2 months ago by jason s arnold
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well organized and well-written
Very well organized and well-written book. Usually one learns C language at school or university and he does his exercises in Microsoft Visual Studio, which has a very intuitive... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Davide Berti - Cuneo
2.0 out of 5 stars The book is probably fine and helpful...but don't let your kid near...
or he might just stab away at buttons and order you a book like this that you had no intention of ever buying. Read more
Published 6 months ago by stinkdyr
1.0 out of 5 stars Disassembly? Where are you? LOL
First of all, before I disappoint any of you GDB fans, let me first say that I had a reason for giving this a one star. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Robert
4.0 out of 5 stars Teaches you the crafts of gdb and debugging in general
I am a programmer for several years now and have fair knowledge of using debuggers as an aid for debugging and as an aid for understanding the workings of a program (large projects... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Amit Saha
5.0 out of 5 stars Spending less time debugging
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. Read more
Published 14 months ago by M. Machado
5.0 out of 5 stars Best debugging tool book ever
If you use GDB, get it. If you want to learn GDB get it. If your already a GDB expert, well you can probably pass and just use info gdb or the pocket reference, but it may have a... Read more
Published on November 14, 2010 by SrART
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to debugging with GDB, DDD and Eclipse
This book is an excellent introduction to debugging with GDB, DDD and Eclipse. By the time you've finished the book, you should have a very good understanding of how to use these... Read more
Published on October 16, 2010 by Frank R. Matz
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Topic From this Discussion
Is this book ever going to get published?
Considering the date of the initial post and his statement of how long he's been tracking this book, I don't think it's going to be published.

His post is dated almost a year ago.

I've been tracking the book myself for the last couple months and each month the book gets pushed back until the... Read More
Jul 15, 2008 by T. M. Abraham |  See all 8 posts
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