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Journal Articles (Review Article) The Journal of Object Technology Year : 2023

Protocol-Based Interactive Debugging for Domain-Specific Languages

Abstract

Interactive debuggers are established tools used by developers to understand programs and localize faults. They are equally valuable in the context of model-driven development, when working on executable behavioral models. However, development costs of interactive debuggers for Domain-Specific Languages (DSLs) can be significant. In order to mitigate these costs, several reusable DSL-agnostic debugging solutions have been proposed. We argue that the applicability of these solutions is limited by being tied to a fixed set of debugging services, a specific language engineering approach, or a particular user interface. In this paper, we present a novel approach to provide interactive debugging services for executable DSLs through a reusable generic architecture. We propose a protocol allowing a generic interactive debugger to communicate with heterogeneous DSL runtimes, both for controlling the execution and for configuring the debugger with domain-specific breakpoints. The proposed debugger can itself be controlled using a reinterpretation of the Debug Adapter Protocol (DAP), for an effortless integration in existing Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) that support it. Using a prototype implementation based on JSON-RPC and two heterogeneous DSL runtimes, we show that our approach provides an off-the-shelf reusable interactive debugger that supports meaningful domain-specific breakpoints, and that can be used with minimal effort within an IDE such as Visual Studio Code.
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hal-04124727 , version 1 (12-06-2023)

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Josselin Enet, Erwan Bousse, Massimo Tisi, Gerson Sunyé. Protocol-Based Interactive Debugging for Domain-Specific Languages. The Journal of Object Technology, 2023, 22 (2), pp.2:1-14. ⟨10.5381/jot.2023.22.2.a6⟩. ⟨hal-04124727⟩
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