Java Platform Debugger Architecture
Java SE 1.4 Enhancements

The version 1.4 family of the JDK includes the following JPDA enhancements:

Full Speed Debugging

The Java HotSpot virtual machine now uses "full-speed debugging". In the previous version of HotSpot, when debugging was enabled, the program executed using only the interpreter. Now, the full performance advantage of HotSpot Technology is available to programs running with debugging enabled. The improved performance allows long running programs to be more easily debugged. It also allows testing to proceed at full speed and the launch of a debugger to occur on an exception:


For details on launch "onthrow" and launch "onuncaught", see Connection and Invocation Details. Setting a breakpoint only inhibits compilation (full speed execution) for the method containing the breakpoint. Execution reverts to the interpreter during some debug operations such as single-stepping and when method entry/exit or watchpoints are set.

As of version 1.4.1, full-speed debugging is available with both the Java HotSpot Client VM (default) and Java HotSpot Server VM (invoked with the -server command-line flag). In the JDK 1.4.0, full-speed debugging was available only with the Java HotSpot Client VM.

Enable "HotSwap" Class File Replacement

This new feature encapsulates the ability to substitute modified code in a running application through the debugger APIs. For example, one can recompile a single class and replace the old instance with the new instance.

This change was made to address these issues:

HotSwap adds functionality to the Java Platform Debugger Architecture (JPDA) to allow a class to be updated while under the control of a debugger. The two central components of this functionality are RedefineClasses which replaces the class definitions and PopFrame which pops frames off the stack allowing a method which has been redefined to be re-executed.

In the reference implementation, this functionality is implemented at the Java Virtual Machine Debug Interface (JVMDI) layer and made available through the higher layers of JPDA - the Java Debug Wire Protocol (JDWP) and the Java Debug Interface (JDI).

Redefinition Functionality
JDI VirtualMachine.redefineClasses(Map classToBytes)
JDWP RedefineClasses (Cmd 18) in VirtualMachine (CmdSet 1)
JVMDI RedefineClasses(jint classCount, JVMDI_class_definition *classDefs)


Pop Frame Functionality
JDI ThreadReference.popFrames(StackFrame frame)
JDWP PopFrames (Cmd 4) in StackFrame (CmdSet 16)
JVMDI PopFrame(jthread thread)

All functionality at each layer is independently optional. The GetCapabilities function at the JVMDI layer; the CapabilitiesNew command at the JDWP layer; and the canRedefineClasses, canAddMethod, canUnrestrictedlyRedefineClasses, and canPopFrames, methods at the JDI layer describe what functionality is implemented.

The bug report associated with this change is 4287595.

Instance Filters

BreakpointRequest, MethodExitRequest, ExceptionRequest, StepRequest, WatchpointRequest and MethodEntryRequest classes now have the capability of adding instance filters by using the addInstanceFilter method. Instance filters restrict the events generated by a request to those in which the currently executing instance is the object specified.

Support For Debugging Other Languages

The Java Platform Debugger Architecture has been extended so that non-Java programming language source, which is translated to Java programming language source, can be debugged in the future. The table below describes the new APIs and APIs with comments that have changed. This information is based on the SourceDebugExtension.


Package New APIs APIs with Changed Comments
JVMDI GetSourceDebugExtension  
JDWP - ReferenceType (2) Command Set SourceDebugExtension Command (12)  
JDWP - VirtualMachine (1) Command Set SetDefaultStratum Command (19)  
JDK - VirtualMachine I/F void setDefaultStratum(String stratum)  
JDK - VirtualMachine I/F String getDefaultStratum()  
JDI - ReferenceType I/F String sourceNames(String stratum) String sourceName()
JDI - ReferenceType I/F String sourcePaths(String stratum)  
JDI - ReferenceType I/F List allLineLocations(String stratum, String sourceName) List allLineLocations()
JDI - ReferenceType I/F List locationsOfLine(String stratum, String sourceName, int lineNumber) List locationsOfLine(int lineNumber)
JDI - ReferenceType I/F List availableStrata()  
JDI - ReferenceType I/F String defaultStratum()  
JDI - ReferenceType I/F String sourceDebugExtension()  
JDK - Method I/F List allLineLocations(String stratum, String sourceName) List allLineLocations()
JDK - Method I/F List locationsOfLine(String stratum, String sourceName, int lineNumber) List locationsOfLine(int lineNumber)
JDI - Location I/F   class comment (strata defined)
JDI - Location I/F int lineNumber(String stratum) int lineNumber()
JDI - Location I/F String sourceName(String stratum) String sourceName()
JDI - Location I/F String sourcePath(String stratum)  
JDI - Location I/F String sourcePath()  


Using class VMDeathRequest, a request can be made for notification when the target VM terminates. When an enabled VMDeathRequest is satisfied, an EventSet containing a VMDeathEvent will be placed on the EventQueue.

Even without creating a VMDeathRequest, a single unsolicited VMDeathEvent will be sent with a suspend policy of SUSPEND_NONE.

This request would typically be created so that a VMDeathEvent with a suspend policy of SUSPEND_ALL will be sent. This event can be used to assure completion of any processing which requires the VM to be alive (e.g. event processing). Note: the unsolicited VMDeathEvent will still be sent.

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