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7.11.5 Diagnoses

If the oracle keeps providing answers to the asked questions, then the declarative debugger will eventually locate a bug. A “bug”, for our purposes, is an assertion about some call which is false, but for which the assertions about every child of that call are not false (i.e. they are either correct or inadmissible). There are four different classes of bugs that this debugger can diagnose, one associated with each kind of assertion.

Assertions about EXIT events lead to a kind of bug we call an “incorrect contour”. This is a contour (an execution path through the body of a clause) which results in a wrong answer for that clause. When the debugger diagnoses a bug of this kind, it displays the exit atoms in the contour. The resulting incorrect exit atom is displayed last. The program event associated with this bug, which we call the “bug event”, is the exit event at the end of the contour.

Assertions about FAIL events lead to a kind of bug we call a “partially uncovered atom”. This is a call atom which has some instance which is valid, but which is not covered by any of the applicable clauses. When the debugger diagnoses a bug of this kind, it displays the call atom; it does not, however, provide an actual instance that satisfies the above condition. The bug event in this case is the fail event reached after all the solutions were exhausted.

Assertions about EXCP events lead to a kind of bug we call an “unhandled exception”. This is a contour which throws an exception that needs to be handled but which is not handled. When the debugger diagnoses a bug of this kind, it displays the call atom followed by the exception which was not handled. The bug event in this case is the exception event for the call in question.

If the assertion made by an EXIT, FAIL or EXCP event is false and one or more of the children of the call that resulted in the incorrect EXIT, FAIL or EXCP event is inadmissible, while all the other calls are correct, then an “inadmissible call” bug has been found. This is a call that behaved incorrectly (by producing the incorrect output, failing or throwing an exception) because it passed unexpected input to one of it’s children. The guilty call is displayed as well as the inadmissible child.

After the diagnosis is displayed, the user is asked to confirm that the event located by the declarative debugger does in fact represent a bug. The user can answer ‘yes’ or ‘y’ to confirm the bug, ‘no’ or ‘n’ to reject the bug, or ‘abort’ or ‘a’ to abort the diagnosis.

If the user confirms the diagnosis, they are returned to the procedural debugger at the event which was found to be the bug event. This gives the user an opportunity, if they need it, to investigate (procedurally) the events in the neighbourhood of the bug.

If the user rejects the diagnosis, which implies that some of their earlier answers may have been mistakes, diagnosis is resumed from some earlier point determined by the debugger. The user may now be asked questions they have already answered, with the previous answer they gave being the default, or they may be asked entirely new questions.

If the user aborts the diagnosis, they are returned to the event at which the ‘dd’ command was given.


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