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Other Debuggers - Perl

In this second part of a two-part series on debugging Perl, we will go beyond the author's favorite debugger and look at a number of alternative Perl debuggers. This article is excerpted from chapter four of the book Mastering Perl, written by Brian D Foy (O'Reilly; ISBN: 0596527241). Copyright © 2007 O'Reilly Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission from the publisher. Available from booksellers or direct from O'Reilly Media.

  1. Perl Debuggers in Detail
  2. perl5db.pl
  3. Alternative Debuggers
  4. Devel::ebug
  5. Other Debuggers
  6. Summary
By: O'Reilly Media
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July 31, 2008

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Eclipse‖ is an open source development environment that runs on a variety of platforms. Itís a Java application, but donít let that scare you off. It has a modular design so people can extend it to meet their needs. EPIC# is the Perl plug-in for Eclipse.

Eclipse is not just a debugger though, and thatís probably not even its most interesting features. From the source code of my Perl program I can inspect classes, call up parts of the Perl documentation, and do quite a bit more.


ActiveStateís Komodo (Figure 4-5) started off as an integrated development environment for Perl on Microsoft Windows, although itís now available on Solaris, Linux, and Mac OS X. It handles Perl as well as several other languages, including Tcl, Ruby, PHP, and Python.

Figure 4-5.  ActiveState's Komodo is a complete development environment and even comes with a tutorial on its use


Affrus is a Perl-only debugger from Late Night Software* for Mac OS X. Since I work almost exclusively on Mac, I really appreciate a debugger thatís quite Mac-like. Late Night Software started with Script Debugger for AppleScript, so theyíre tuned into Macs. Besides that, Affrus has the usual debugging features.

One of the features I find especially useful is Affrusís Arguments pane. I can add invocations of my program, and then select which one I want to run. In Figure 4-6, Iíve added two different command lines and selected the first one, which has the solid diamond next to it. When I run the program, @ARGV gets the elements 5 and 6. If I save this as an Affrus file, the next time I open the program with Affrus I still have access to those command lines.

Figure 4-6.  Affrus allows me to configure several different command lines to use with my program; it updates expressions as my program runs

Like other debuggers, Affrus has a window where I can track the values of expressions. Affrus uses a separate window to display those. I can also look in the Debugging pane to see a list of all of the variables at any time (Figure 4-7).

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