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This page details the effort to create a stand-alone Debugger using Eclipse.

What is it?

The Standalone Debugger is an Eclipse application that starts up a subset of the Eclipse CDT plug-ins that pertain specifically to debugging. The application has an accompanying command-line script which allows an end-user to start up the debugger from the command-line and pass arguments that will start the debugger for the appropriate task.

The end-user can specify either to debug an application, to attach to an existing process, or to debug a core-file. In addition, a build log can be specified to aid the Debugger in locating include files and knowing what flags were used to compile the source code.

Debug an executable, core-file, or an existing process using the Eclipse
C/C++ Stand-alone Debugger.  Eclipse command-line options may be passed
except for -vmargs which is being used to start up the Eclipse Debugger.
Operation modes:
  -h, --help                print this help, then exit
Indexing assist options:
  -b BUILD_LOG              build log to use for compiler includes/flags
Target options:
  -a                        attach to an existing process (list will be shown) 
  -c COREFILE               debug core-file (should also specify executable)
  -e EXECUTABLE [ARGS...]   debug given executable (passing ARGS to main)
The -e option must be used last as subsequent options are passed to main.
Specifying insufficient arguments for a particular target will result in a
dialog displayed to enter the required values for that target.  Specifying
no target option brings up a dialog for debugging an executable with the
executable path, program arguments, and build log filled in from the last -e
invocation, if one exists.
Wiki page: <>

Normally, in Eclipse, a user needs to set up an Eclipse project. In the case of C/C++ development, this means a C/C++ project. As there are multiple ways of building a C/C++ project (e.g. using Autotools or a Standard Makefile project), there are multiple types of C/C++ projects. Rather than impose the project model on the end-user that just wishes to debug, the Standalone Debugger automatically creates a project on behalf of the end-user. As mentioned, the Standalone Debugger only loads a subset of the CDT plug-ins pertaining to debugging and build plug-ins are not included in this list. This enables the Standalone debugger to create a default project without having to know details on how the project is built.


How to try it out

  1. Download the IDE for C/C++ Developers Luna M7 product tar file
  2. Untar the C/C++ IDE into a local directory (let's call this $CPP_LUNA_M7_DIR)
  3. cd $CPP_LUNA_M7_DIR/eclipse/plugins/org.eclipse.cdt.debug.application_1.0.0.201405061918/scripts
  4. Run the command:
    • sh ./
    • this will create the directory: $HOME/cdtdebugger for you and fill it appropriately
  5. To run the debugger:
    • $HOME/cdtdebugger/ [-data workspace] [-consoleLog] -a | [-b build_log_location] [-c core_file_location] [-e executable_path] [arg1 ... argn]
    • this will default to workspace-gdbstandalone if you do not specifiy a workspace via the -data option
    • if you run with no arguments, it will debug the same executable you ran the last time
    • if you specify a core file, you must also specify an executable
    • the cdtdebug command can be moved from $HOME/cdtdebugger if you wish


Sept 17, 2013

  • first pass at standalone GDB debugger using CDT components
  • using Eclipse application and restricting plug-ins used
  • debugger is working but indexer is not being invoked
  • header files not being recognized

Sept 23, 2013

  • added default GCC spec file LanguageSettingsProvider
  • this gets standard header files to open in Outline view

Sept 30, 2013

  • added code to add all source files specified as Project resources
  • this gets indexer to work and adds non-C-standard header file support

Oct 07, 2013

  • Removed Source and Refactoring menus using IActivity filters

Oct 14, 2013

  • added support for reading .debug_macro section to find command-line flags
    • currently not being picked up by indexer for header files

Oct 21, 2013

  • added Dwarf4 support to CDT
    • code submitted upstream for review
  • solved issue with indexer using data discovered from .debug_macro
    • command line macros now discovered from modules compiled with -g3

Oct 28, 2013

  • changed code to clean-up if an executable is specified
    • running again with no executable specified will use the last launch
  • added support for specifying build console
    • build console is parsed for flags and include path settings

Nov 18, 2013

  • added progress dialog
  • added support for running via command-line script
    • fixed program argument parsing
    • figured out what minimally is needed to reuse repository
  • fixed some warnings and errors

Dec 20, 2013

  • added to run from command line with Luna M4 CPP EPP
  • added default jar to use with Eclipse Luna M4 CPP EPP
  • completed GDBStandalone.product which contains icons
  • added check for invalid executable
    • special dialog brought up to fix executable location and enter arguments
  • fixed NPE issue when running debugger 2nd time on same workspace

Jan 15, 2014

  • added New Executable dialog off of File menu to allow specification of different executable to debug
  • added Help doc support, but no docs enabled as of yet
  • added Customize Perspective from Window menu to allow enablement of Reverse Debugging and C/C++ Tracepoint support

Jan 17, 2014

  • added Help menu which contains Help Contents, Search, Dynamic Help, and About Eclipse items

Feb 07, 2014

  • added User Guide which is transformed CDT guide
  • added mnemonics for menus
  • updated for Luna M5

May 09, 2014

  • Standalone debugger is part of Luna M7
  • shipped with C/C++ EPP for Luna M7
  • includes installation script to install locally
  • includes core-file debugging support
  • includes attach to executable debugging support

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