Aqua Help

Breakpoints

Breakpoints are special markers that suspend program execution at a specific point. This lets you examine the program state and behavior. Breakpoints can be simple, for example, suspending the program on reaching some line of code, or involve more complex logic, such as checking against additional conditions, writing to a log, and so on).

Once set, a breakpoint remains in your project until you remove it explicitly, except for temporary breakpoints.

Types of breakpoints

The following types of breakpoints are available in Aqua:

  • Line breakpoints: suspend the program upon reaching the line of code where the breakpoint was set. This type of breakpoints can be set on any executable line of code.

  • Method breakpoints: suspend the program upon entering or exiting the specified method or one of its implementations, allowing you to check the method's entry/exit conditions.

  • Field watchpoints: suspend the program when the specified field is read or written to. This allows you to react to interactions with specific instance variables. For example, if at the end of a complicated process you are ending up with an obviously wrong value on one of your fields, setting a field watchpoint may help determine the origin of the fault.

  • Exception breakpoints: suspend the program when Throwable or its subclasses are thrown. They apply globally to the exception condition and do not require a particular source code reference.

Set breakpoints

Set line breakpoints

  • Click the gutter at the executable line of code where you want to set the breakpoint. Alternatively, place the caret at the line and press Ctrl+F8.

    Line breakpoint

Set method breakpoints

  • Click the gutter at the line where the method is declared. Alternatively, place the caret at the method declaration and press Ctrl+F8.

    Method breakpoint

Set field watchpoints

  • Click the gutter at the line where the field is declared. Alternatively, place the caret at the line and press Ctrl+F8.

    Field watchpoint

Set exception breakpoints

  1. Press Ctrl+Shift+F8 or select Run | View Breakpoints from the main menu.

  2. Depending on the type of the exception:

    • If you want to suspend the program when any instance of Throwable is thrown, check Any Exception under Java Exceptions.

      Suspend the program when any exception is thrown
    • If you want to suspend the program when a specific exception or its subclasses are thrown, click Add Alt+Insert in the top-left corner of the dialog, select Java Exception Breakpoints, and enter the name of the exception.

      The Enter Exception Class dialog

Manage breakpoints

Remove breakpoints

  • For non-exception breakpoints: click the breakpoint in the gutter.

  • For all breakpoints: go to Run | View Breakpoints Ctrl+Shift+F8 in the main menu, select the breakpoint, and click Remove Delete.

To avoid accidentally removing a breakpoint and losing its parameters, you can choose to remove breakpoints by dragging them to the editor or clicking the middle mouse button. To do this, go to Settings | Build, Execution, Deployment | Debugger and select Drag to the editor or click with middle mouse button. Clicking a breakpoint will then enable or disable it.

Mute breakpoints

If you don't need to stop at your breakpoints for some time, you can mute them. This allows you to resume normal program operation without leaving the debugger session. After that, you can unmute breakpoints and continue debugging.

  • Click the Mute Breakpoints button Mute Breakpoints button in the toolbar of the Debug tool window.

    Mute breakpoints

Enable/disable breakpoints

When you remove a breakpoint, its internal configuration is lost. To temporarily turn an individual breakpoint off without losing its parameters, you can disable it:

  • For non-exception breakpoints: right-click it and set the Enabled option as required. You can also toggle them with the middle mouse button if removing breakpoints is not assigned to it.

    Disable the non-exception breakpoint
  • For all breakpoints: click Run | View Breakpoints Ctrl+Shift+F8 and check/uncheck the breakpoint on the list.

Move/copy breakpoints

  • To move a breakpoint, drag it to another line.

  • To copy a breakpoint, hold Ctrl and drag a breakpoint to another line. This creates a breakpoint with the same parameters at the destination.

View all set breakpoints

You can view the list of all breakpoints in the Bookmarks tool window. Breakpoints are automatically added to the dedicated list in the tool window once you place them in your code.

  • In the main menu, go to View | Tool Windows | Bookmarks or press Alt+2 and expand the Breakpoints list.

Bookmarks tool window

Configure breakpoints' properties

Depending on the breakpoint type, you can configure additional properties which allow you to tailor its operation for specific needs. The most used options are available via intentions.

  • To access breakpoint intentions, place the caret at the line with the breakpoint and press Alt+Enter. Use this option when you need to quickly configure basic breakpoint properties.

  • To access the full list of properties, right-click the breakpoint and click More or press Ctrl+Shift+F8.

Intentions reference

Intention

Description

Remove breakpoint

Removes the breakpoint at the selected line.

Disable Breakpoint

Disables the breakpoint at the selected line.

Edit breakpoint

Opens a dialog with the most used breakpoint properties. For more properties, click More or press Ctrl+Shift+F8.

Stop only in the class

Applies a class filter to exclude the classes derived from the current one.

Do not stop in the class

Applies a class filter to exclude the current class.

Stop only in the current object

Applies an instance filter to include only the current instance and exclude all others. This action is only available in non-static methods.

Stop only if called from

Applies a caller filter to exclude all methods except for the one corresponding to the previous frame in the stack.

Do not stop if called from

Applies a caller filter to exclude the method corresponding to the previous frame in the stack.

Breakpoints' properties reference

In this chapter, you can find information on the features available for breakpoints.

Enabled

Clear the checkbox to temporarily disable a breakpoint without removing it from the project. Disabled breakpoints are skipped during stepping.

You can configure Aqua to enable/disable breakpoints on clicking rather than removing them altogether. To do this, go to Settings | Build, Execution, Deployment | Debugger and set the Remove breakpoint option to Drag to the editor or click with middle mouse button.

Suspend

Specifies whether to pause the program execution when the breakpoint is hit.

Non-suspending breakpoints are useful when you need to log some expression without pausing the program (for example, when you need to know how many times a method was called) or if you need to create a trigger breakpoint that will enable dependent breakpoints when hit.

The following policies are available for the breakpoints that suspend program execution:

  • All: all threads are suspended when any of the threads hits the breakpoint.

  • Thread: only the thread which hits the breakpoint is suspended.

If you want a policy to be used as the default one, click the Make default button.

Select the desired policy

Condition

This option is used to specify a condition that is checked each time the breakpoint is hit. If the condition evaluates to true, the selected actions are performed. Otherwise, the breakpoint is ignored.

The result of the expression is taken from the return statement. When there is no return statement, the result is taken from the last line of code.

In the body of the condition, you can use:

  • Multiple statements, including declarations, loops, anonymous classes, and so on

  • this (in nonstatic context), for example, to refer to the current exception: !(this.entries.isEmpty())

When evaluating expressions, make sure you are aware of their possible side effects as they may potentially affect the behavior and the result of the program.

Logging options

When a breakpoint is hit, the following can be logged to the console:

  • "Breakpoint hit" message: a log message like Breakpoint reached at ocean.Whale.main(Whale.java:5).

  • Stack trace: the stack trace for the current frame. This is useful if you want to check what paths have led to this point without interrupting the program execution.

  • Evaluate and log: the result of an arbitrary expression, for example, "Initializing" or users.size().

    The result of the expression is taken from the return statement. When there is no return statement, the result is taken from the last line of code, which doesn't have to be an expression: a literal works too. This can be used to produce a custom message or to keep track of some values as the program executes.

    When evaluating expressions, make sure you are aware of their possible side effects as they may potentially affect the behavior and the result of the program.

Remove once hit

Specifies whether the breakpoint should be removed from the project after it has been hit once.

Disable until hitting the following breakpoint

When a breakpoint is selected in the Disable until hitting the following breakpoint box, it acts as a trigger for the current breakpoint. This disables the current breakpoint until the specified breakpoint has been hit.

You can also choose whether to disable it again after this has happened or leave it enabled.

This option is useful when you only need to suspend the program under certain conditions or after certain actions. In this case, the trigger breakpoint usually isn't required to stop the program execution and is made non-suspending.

Filters

Aqua debugger enables you to fine-tune the breakpoint operation by filtering out classes, instances, and caller methods and only suspend the program where needed.

The following types of filters are available:

  • Catch class filters: allow you to only suspend the program when the exception is going to be caught in one of the specified classes. Available only for exception breakpoints.

  • Instance filters: limit the breakpoint operation to particular object instances. This type of filter only takes effect in nonstatic context.

  • Class filters: limit the breakpoint operation to particular classes.

  • Caller filters: limit the breakpoint operation depending on the caller of the current method. Select if you need to stop at a breakpoint only when the current method is called (or not called) from a certain method.

To set up a filter, click the button near the text field and use a dialog or define it in text format. For text format, use the following syntax:

  • Classes and methods are specified using fully qualified names. If a filter is specified through a class name, it points at the class itself and all its subclasses which use its members via inheritance.

  • You can use patterns that begin or end with the * wildcard to define groups of classes or methods, for example *.Foo or java.*. A filter specified through a pattern points at classes/methods whose fully qualified names match this pattern.

  • Object instances are specified using instance IDs. You can find the object ID in the Variables tab when the object is in the scope.

  • Class names, caller methods, patterns, and instance IDs are separated with spaces.

  • To exclude a class or a caller method, type - before its name.

  • In caller filters, use descriptors for parameters and return types, for example: mypackage.MyObject.addString(Ljava/lang/String;)V. For detailed information on descriptors, refer to the official Oracle documentation.

Filter examples:

-java.* -sun.*

A class/catch class filter that ignores the code inside the java and sun packages.

-package1.Class1.method1([Ljava/lang/String;)Ljava/util/List;

A caller filter to exclude calls from method1 in package1.Class1, which has the following signature: List method1(String[] input).

package1.Class1 *s2 -package3.Class3

A class/catch class filter that applies the breakpoint to code in package1.Class1 and in classes whose fully qualified name ends in s2 and ignores the code in the package3.Class3 class.

Pass count

Specifies that the breakpoint should work only after it has been hit a certain number of times. This is useful for debugging scenarios that involve suspending the application in long-running loops or selectively logging frequent events.

Once the count completes, it resets and starts again. This means that if Pass count is set to 10, the breakpoint will work every tenth time it is hit.

If both Pass Count and Condition are set, Aqua first satisfies the condition and then checks for Pass Count.

Field access/modification

Field access

Select to make the watchpoint work when the field is being read.

Field modification

Select to make the watchpoint work when the field is being written to.

Emulated

When this option is enabled, Aqua sets a combination of line breakpoints at the first and last statements of a method instead of using a slower "true" method breakpoint. Emulated method breakpoints improve debugging performance and thus are used by default.

We only recommend disabling this option if you are debugging remote code, or if you need to set a breakpoint at native methods or classes without line number information.

Method entry/exit

Method entry

Select to make the breakpoint work after the method or its descendants are entered.

Method exit

Select to make the breakpoint work before the method or its descendants return.

Caught/uncaught exception

Caught exception

Select to make the breakpoint work when the specified exception was caught.

Uncaught exception

Select to make the breakpoint work when the specified exception was not caught. This allows you to examine the program state and detect the cause before the program or thread crashes due to unhandled exception.

Breakpoint statuses

Breakpoints can have the following statuses:

Status

Description

Verified

After you have started a debugger session, the debugger checks whether it is technically possible to suspend the program at the breakpoint. If yes, the debugger marks the breakpoint as verified.

Warning

If it is technically possible to suspend the program at the breakpoint, however there are issues related to it, the debugger sets the breakpoint status to warning. This may happen, for example, when it is impossible to suspend the program at one of the method's implementations.

Invalid

If it is technically impossible to suspend the program at the breakpoint, the debugger marks it as invalid. This often happens because there is no executable code on the line.

Inactive/dependent

A breakpoint is marked as inactive/dependent when it is configured to be disabled until another breakpoint is hit, and this has not happened yet.

Muted

All breakpoints are temporarily inactive because they have been muted.

Disabled

This breakpoint is temporarily inactive because it has been disabled.

Non-suspending

The suspend policy is set for this breakpoint so that it does not suspend the execution when hit.

Breakpoint icons

Depending on their type and status, breakpoints are marked with the following icons:

Line

Method

Exception

Regular

line breakpoint

method breakpoint

exception breakpoint

Disabled

disabled line breakpoint

disabled method breakpoint

disabled exception breakpoint

Verified

verified line breakpoint

verified method breakpoint

Muted

muted line breakpoint

muted method breakpoint

Inactive/dependent

inactive/dependent line breakpoint

inactive/dependent method breakpoint

Muted disabled

muted disabled line breakpoint

muted disabled method breakpoint

Non-suspending

non-suspending line breakpoint

non-suspending method breakpoint

Verified non-suspending

verified non-suspending line breakpoint

verified non-suspending method breakpoint

Invalid

invalid breakpoint

Productivity tips

Add breakpoint descriptions

If you have many breakpoints in your project, you can add descriptions to breakpoints for ease of search. To do this, right-click a breakpoint in the Breakpoints dialog Ctrl+Shift+F8 and select Edit description from the menu. Now when you start typing the breakpoint name, it gets the focus.

Last modified: 14 May 2024