Animator is a powerful menu-driven tool for debugging your COBOL programs. It is provided as part of the Server Express Development Environment. It displays your source code and your application in windows on the screen, highlighting each line of the source as your program is executed. This process is referred to as animating.
Animator enables you to debug applications during the various stages of the application development cycle. You can debug:
When you syntax-check a program, an Animator information file is created by default; this contains information required by Animator. This file has the filename extension .idy, and is usually referred to as the .idy file.
You can debug programs and applications using the following methods:
Animator can be used to debug your COBOL programs as part of the normal development cycle.
Enables an application to drop into debugging mode when a run-time error (for example, an "RTS173 File Not Found") occurs. Normally, if such an error occurred, you would see the error message, and the application would end. However, with just-in-time debugging you can debug the program in-line when an error occurs.
If you have the source files and the .idy files the source code is animated at the line where the error occurred. If you do not have the required files, you are given the name of the source file or program where the error occurred.
Enables you to dynamically attach Animator to a process; you can thus debug an application that is already running. This can be particularly useful for larger applications where debugging from the very start might be difficult or time-consuming. You need to have the source files and the .idy files available to debug using unsolicited dynamic attachment.
Enables you to debug applications which have terminated in a core dump. You can use Animator to display a snapshot of the application's state when it terminated. You cannot execute the core dump file, so cannot perform operations such as stepping through the application, but you can examine data items and view the CALL/PERFORM stack.
You can produce a core dump even when you don't have Server Express installed. This is valuable if you need to debug a released application on site, where it is unlikely that the Server Express Development Environment is available. Just as with just-in-time debugging, you must have the source files and the .idy files to view the core dump file. If you do not have the required files, you are given the name of the source file or program where the error occurred.
Enables you to debug mixed-language applications using Animator. When program flow moves from a COBOL program to a C sub-program, the system debugger can be invoked.
Enables Animator to start when a particular point in a program has been reached. Applications often behave differently to how you expect; such problems might be deep in the code and at a distant point in program execution. By using CBL_DEBUGBREAK you can start debugging at a specific program execution point.
You can use Net Express to remotely debug programs. This enables you to debug programs that you have developed on a UNIX system using Server Express, or published on a UNIX system using the Net Express UNIX Option. The remote debugging capability is provided in Net Express Version 3. See your Net Express documentation for information on remote debugging.
To use remote debugging you need to start the debug server on your UNIX system. See the section Remote Debugging in the chapter Starting Animator for details.
Animator uses windows to display information about your program during execution, along with the corresponding part of your source code. Animator provides functions that enable you to control the pace at which your program runs, interrupt execution to examine and change data items, alter the sequence of execution or enter COBOL statements for immediate execution before your program continues. These facilities enable you to debug your programs quickly and easily.
A flexible set of execution functions enables you to execute the code at the speed to suit the problem you are examining. You can Zoom (execute at maximum speed) through code you do not want to see execute, manually Step through each statement or set a convenient automatic execution speed in a problem area.
You can set breakpoints throughout the source code by marking each statement where you want a break to occur or by defining a condition that should give rise to a break. This lets you define exactly when to get manual control of your program when it is executing automatically.
Debugging a program often involves monitoring various data values in order to detect unexpected results. As the values of the data change during program execution, the monitored items are highlighted as they are updated.
You can query a data item in a program and display its contents in either text (ASCII) or hexadecimal format. The contents of the data item can be changed, with immediate effect in subsequent program execution.
Do functions enable you to execute additional code without having to interrupt your testing session. These COBOL statements can be executed when you enter them, or they can be associated with a statement and executed with that statement. The latter are saved in a file so that they can be incorporated into your source code once you have decided they correct a problem.
Reset functions enable you to bypass code that you do not want to be executed.
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