Dennis Laumen We who cut mere stones must always be envisioning cathedrals

Advanced breakpoints in Eclipse

Breakpoint properties?

For the last couple of months I have been using Eclipse more and more in both a personal and a professional setting. Eclipse can be an overwhelming and daunting IDE but is a very powerful one too. One of the features I hadn't discovered until recently is the breakpoints properties screen. This screen has a number of cool features but I'd like to highlight two of them in this blog post.

Hit count

Eclipse allows you too only suspend the thread for debugging when hitting the breakpoint a certain number of times. Look at the example code below.

for (int i = 0; i <= args.length; i++) { 

Imagine a much more complex version of the scenario seen above. You're skipping through arrays and suddenly an ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException is fired. Wouldn't it be easy to be able to debug this piece of code without having to click through the loop a gazillion times until you reach the phase of the loop you're interested in?Eclipse makes this all possible in its breakpoints properties screen. This screen is shown below and can be opened by right clicking a breakpoint and selecting properties in the menu. As you can see in the image below you enter a numerical value which indicated how many hits a breakpoint should get before suspending the thread and allowing you to dive into the code.

hit count]

Conditional breakpoints

An even more powerful feature than the one shown above is the conditional breakpoint. An example of this can be seen in the picture below.


Using the settings seen in the image the breakpoint only suspends the thread when the condition in the text box is true. You can enter any boolean condition in this box.Both of the above features allow for some very, very powerful debugging.