[plt-scheme] ATTN: Neil Van Dyke (and some philosophical musings on debuggers)

From: Prabhakar Ragde (plragde at uwaterloo.ca)
Date: Thu Sep 16 14:08:40 EDT 2004

>> What is the definition of a debugger? Does the Stepper in DrScheme
>> count? --PR
>I was thinking narrowly, in terms of a tool that inspects the
>environment, control info, and possibly the heap at various events
>during the program. But sure, let the Stepper count, too.

Then I have to disagree with your assertion that it means the
programmer is tinkering and not thinking. The Stepper works with
exactly the same substitution model that is the programmer's mental
model of the effects of their code. It does not expose low-level
implementation details. That is distinct from a debugger for a C-style
language, where the semantic model, to the extent that there is one,
really is in terms of boxes labelled with both variable names and
machine addresses. I appreciate your point about intrusive tools being
crutches, but I think it has to be carefully qualified. --PR

Posted on the users mailing list.