Start the Debugger

This section describes basic operational requirements and provides a rough guideline on how to proceed when planning to apply the debugger.

Debugger under Natural Security

The use of the debugger can be controlled by Natural Security:

  • You can protect the debugger against unauthorized use by disallowing the TEST system command, which invokes the debugger; see Command Restrictions in the section Library Maintenance in the Natural Security documentation.

  • You can disallow or restrict the use of the debugger as described in Components of an Environment Profile in the Natural Security documentation.

Operational Requirements

The debugger is only invoked when you execute a cataloged object stored in the current library in the current Natural system file. The debugger is not invoked when you execute source code contained in the work area by using the RUN command.

Efficient and correct debugging requires that the source code in the source object corresponds to the compiled source code in the cataloged object which can be guaranteed with the system command STOW. If you change a source object after you cataloged it, it is possible that a debug entry (breakpoint or watchpoint) does not function properly because the referenced statement or variable has changed or no longer exists. When the debugger detects that a source object has an earlier time stamp than the corresponding cataloged object, the following warning appears Time stamps of source and cataloged object do not match.

The debugger investigates all Natural objects contained in the current library or in one of its steplibs. The debugger does not investigate Natural objects stored in the Natural system library SYSLIB or SYSLIBS.

The following restriction applies to the use of the debugger:

  • The debugger can only be applied to objects of Natural Version 2.3 and above, but not to Natural objects cataloged with any previous version. The debugger supports only debug environments which were created with Natural Version 2.3 and above; debug environments created with any previous version will be ignored. For detailed information on debug environments, see Debug Environment Maintenance.

Batch Processing

Although the debugger is mainly designed for interactive usage in online mode, the debugger commands can also be used for batch execution such as for setting breakpoints or watchpoints.

There are restrictions for batch processing which can cause a debugger command to be rejected. For example, the debugger does not support the commands ++ and +4.

Example of Generating and Printing Statistics in Batch

The following is an example of using debugger direct commands in batch mode to generate and print a report about call statistics:

//   PARM=('INTENS=1,IM=D,CF=$,PRINT=((1-2),AM=STD)')

Invoke the Debugger

Start of instruction setTo invoke the debugger

  1. Establish a debug environment for a Natural object or application:

    • Invoke the Debug Main Menu by entering the Natural system command TEST.

      From within a running application, enter the terminal command %<TEST.

    • Use the functions of the Debug Main Menu to specify debug entries for a Natural object or application:

      Debug environment maintenance
      Spy maintenance
      Breakpoint maintenance
      Watchpoint maintenance
      Call statistics maintenance
      Statement execution statistics maintenance
      Variable maintenance
      List object source

  2. Activate the debugger:

    • At a command prompt, enter the command TEST ON.

      In the Debug Main Menu, enter function code T.

  3. Execute the Natural object or application.

    The debugger pauses program execution at the specified debug entries and invokes the Debug Break window.

Start of instruction set To invoke the debugger for error handling

  • At session start, set the profile parameter DBGERR to ON.

    See also DBGERR - Automatic Start of Debugger at Runtime Error in the Parameter Reference documentation.

    During the session, enter the command TEST ON at a command prompt or enter function code T in a main debug maintenance menu.

    The debugger invokes the Debug Break window when a Natural error occurs.

See also the section Error Handling.

Default Object

The maintenance functions of the debugger as described in the relevant sections refer to objects you specify either in the corresponding name fields of menus or with direct commands. If you do not specify an object name, by default, the debugger assumes the name of the current object as it is displayed in the Object field, in the upper right corner of the Debug Main Menu. With a default object specified, no object name is required in direct commands and menu options used to specify breakpoints or watchpoints. To change the default object, see the syntax of the command SET in the section Command Summary and Syntax.