[cc65] Access to debug information

From: Ullrich von Bassewitz <uz1musoftware.de>
Date: 2010-08-01 20:17:48
Good evening!

As some may know, there is an experimental --dbgfile option that can be given
to the linker. As a result, the linker generates a text file that contains
debug information collected from the object files. Format and contents of the
file are experimental and there is quite some stuff missing.

Upon request from a user, I've added line information from assembler files
lately. Line information from C sources has already been there, but for
historical reasons, line information for the assembler files has been embedded
in the object files, but wasn't written to the debug information file.

When I added support for the debug info file, my plan was to add a module that
parses these files and is able to make the information available to other
applications (emulators or whatever) using a - hopefully very simple - API.
This module can then be used by other applications to access the information
contained in the debug info files. But since I have more good ideas than time
to implement them, this module was never written.

Since the topic came up again the last few days, and I'm currently working on
the matter, the question is if this is the right time to implement the access
module. I don't have the time to do the full stuff (symbols et al), so my idea
was to write the basic routines (parsing, data) and give access to the line

This would basically mean, that it is possible for an emulator to add support
for a source level view of the debugged code. Since - for a start - only line
information is available, debugging C code this way isn't of much use, but it
would be an advantage for assembler programmers, since they can step through
the actual source when debugging.

Now the question is, if having such a module would be worth the trouble? I can
see several advantages:

  * Even when writing assembler programs, it's nice to have a source level
    view with all the comments and symbol names.

  * It is some work for me, but once I'm done, I can lean back and wait if
    others make use of it. If not, I have an excuse for not spending more
    time on it:-)

  * Once people make use of such a module, I can make more information from
    the debug files available, step by step.

The disadvantage is that it is work for me. So I would like to know if there
is interest in such a module especially by people in charge of the emulators.
Provided you have a C module with a few simple entry points like


and a permissive license that allows embedding this module in your code, would
you be interested in adding support for additional features based on the debug
information? If so, please let me know :-)



Ullrich von Bassewitz                                  uz@musoftware.de
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Received on Sun Aug 1 20:17:55 2010

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