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23.2.1 Default Arguments

You can tell GDB to always prepend some default arguments to the list of arguments provided explicitly by the user when using a user-defined alias.

If you repeatedly use the same arguments or options for a command, you can define an alias for this command and tell GDB to automatically prepend these arguments or options to the list of arguments you type explicitly when using the alias18.

For example, if you often use the command thread apply all specifying to work on the threads in ascending order and to continue in case it encounters an error, you can tell GDB to automatically preprend the -ascending and -c options by using:

(gdb) alias thread apply asc-all = thread apply all -ascending -c

Once you have defined this alias with its default args, any time you type the thread apply asc-all followed by some arguments, GDB will execute thread apply all -ascending -c some arguments.

To have even less to type, you can also define a one word alias:

(gdb) alias t_a_c = thread apply all -ascending -c

As usual, unambiguous abbreviations can be used for alias and default-args.

The different aliases of a command do not share their default args. For example, you define a new alias bt_ALL showing all possible information and another alias bt_SMALL showing very limited information using:

(gdb) alias bt_ALL = backtrace -entry-values both -frame-arg all \
   -past-main -past-entry -full
(gdb) alias bt_SMALL = backtrace -entry-values no -frame-arg none \
   -past-main off -past-entry off

(For more on using the alias command, see Aliases.)

Default args are not limited to the arguments and options of command, but can specify nested commands if command accepts such a nested command as argument. For example, the below defines faalocalsoftype that lists the frames having locals of a certain type, together with the matching local vars:

(gdb) alias faalocalsoftype = frame apply all info locals -q -t
(gdb) faalocalsoftype int
#1  0x55554f5e in sleeper_or_burner (v=0xdf50) at sleepers.c:86
i = 0
ret = 21845

This is also very useful to define an alias for a set of nested with commands to have a particular combination of temporary settings. For example, the below defines the alias pp10 that pretty prints an expression argument, with a maximum of 10 elements if the expression is a string or an array:

(gdb) alias pp10 = with print pretty -- with print elements 10 -- print

This defines the alias pp10 as being a sequence of 3 commands. The first part with print pretty -- temporarily activates the setting set print pretty, then launches the command that follows the separator --. The command following the first part is also a with command that temporarily changes the setting set print elements to 10, then launches the command that follows the second separator --. The third part print is the command the pp10 alias will launch, using the temporary values of the settings and the arguments explicitly given by the user. For more information about the with command usage, see Command Settings.

By default, asking the help for an alias shows the documentation of the aliased command. When the alias is a set of nested commands, help of an alias shows the documentation of the first command. This help is not particularly useful for an alias such as pp10. For such an alias, it is useful to give a specific documentation using the document command (see document).



GDB could easily accept default arguments for pre-defined commands and aliases, but it was deemed this would be confusing, and so is not allowed.

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