The simplest sort of breakpoint breaks every time your program reaches a specified place. You can also specify a condition for a breakpoint. A condition is just a Boolean expression in your programming language (see section Expressions). A breakpoint with a condition evaluates the expression each time your program reaches it, and your program stops only if the condition is true.
This is the converse of using assertions for program validation; in that situation, you want to stop when the assertion is violated--that is, when the condition is false. In C, if you want to test an assertion expressed by the condition assert, you should set the condition `! assert' on the appropriate breakpoint.
Conditions are also accepted for watchpoints; you may not need them, since a watchpoint is inspecting the value of an expression anyhow--but it might be simpler, say, to just set a watchpoint on a variable name, and specify a condition that tests whether the new value is an interesting one.
Break conditions can have side effects, and may even call functions in your program. This can be useful, for example, to activate functions that log program progress, or to use your own print functions to format special data structures. The effects are completely predictable unless there is another enabled breakpoint at the same address. (In that case, GDB might see the other breakpoint first and stop your program without checking the condition of this one.) Note that breakpoint commands are usually more convenient and flexible for the purpose of performing side effects when a breakpoint is reached (see section Breakpoint command lists).
Break conditions can be specified when a breakpoint is set, by using
`if' in the arguments to the
break command. See section Setting breakpoints. They can also be changed at any time
watch command does not recognize the
condition is the only way to impose a further condition on a
condition bnum expression
condition, GDB checks expression immediately for syntactic correctness, and to determine whether symbols in it have referents in the context of your breakpoint. GDB does not actually evaluate expression at the time the
conditioncommand is given, however. See section Expressions.
A special case of a breakpoint condition is to stop only when the breakpoint has been reached a certain number of times. This is so useful that there is a special way to do it, using the ignore count of the breakpoint. Every breakpoint has an ignore count, which is an integer. Most of the time, the ignore count is zero, and therefore has no effect. But if your program reaches a breakpoint whose ignore count is positive, then instead of stopping, it just decrements the ignore count by one and continues. As a result, if the ignore count value is n, the breakpoint does not stop the next n times your program reaches it.
ignore bnum count
continueto resume execution of your program from a breakpoint, you can specify an ignore count directly as an argument to
continue, rather than using
ignore. See section Continuing and stepping. If a breakpoint has a positive ignore count and a condition, the condition is not checked. Once the ignore count reaches zero, GDB resumes checking the condition. You could achieve the effect of the ignore count with a condition such as `$foo-- <= 0' using a debugger convenience variable that is decremented each time. See section Convenience variables.
Ignore counts apply to breakpoints, watchpoints, and catchpoints.
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