Sun Studio 12: Debugging a Program With dbx

Printing C++

In C++ an object pointer has two types, its static type (what is defined in the source code) and its dynamic type (what an object was before any casts were made to it). dbx can sometimes provide you with the information about the dynamic type of an object.

In general, when an object has a virtual function table (a vtable) in it, dbx can use the information in the vtable to correctly determine an object’s type.

You can use the print command, display command, or watch command with the -r (recursive) option. dbx displays all the data members directly defined by a class and those inherited from a base class.

These commands also take a -d or +d option that toggles the default behavior of the dbx environment variable output_derived_type.

Using the -d flag or setting the dbx environment variable output_dynamic_type to on when there is no process running generates a “program is not active” error message because it is not possible to access dynamic information when there is no process. An “illegal cast on class pointers” error message is generated if you try to find a dynamic type through a virtual inheritance. (Casting from a virtual base class to a derived class is not legal in C++.)

Evaluating Unnamed Arguments in C++ Programs

C++ lets you define functions with unnamed arguments. For example:

void tester(int)
main(int, char **)

Though you cannot use unnamed arguments elsewhere in a program, the compiler encodes unnamed arguments in a form that lets you evaluate them. The form is as follows, where the compiler assigns an integer to %n:


To obtain the name assigned by the compiler, type the whatis command with the function name as its target.

(dbx) whatis tester
void tester(int _ARG1);
(dbx) whatis main
int main(int _ARG1, char **_ARG2);

For more information, see whatis Command.

To evaluate (or display) an unnamed function argument, type:

(dbx) print _ARG1
_ARG1 = 4