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adding support for ptype to MI

Hi all,

During a recent back-and-forth with some developers it was pointed out that one of the things holding back some of the GUI work for gdb was that MI does not support the "ptype" command. (There may already be a bug filed for this I'm told, but perusing the gdb bugzilla data base I don't see it.) The inability to get output in usable formats from this command(and maybe others) has kept the gdb GUI's from offering features that Visual C++ and other Windows-based GUI's provide with their debuggers.

One of the good suggestions(from Dodji Seleteli who has done a *lot* of work on the Nemiver project) suggests gdb might respond to some MI requests with a "serialized object". Here is his opinion:

"I think my main problem with type printing in MI is that there is no way in MI today to get a description of a type returned as a "serialized object". By serialized object I mean each type should be represented in a hierarchical way so that the UI can represent it as a tree to the user, letting her browse the type fields and giving her a chance to drill down/up there. A bit like what you get when you do "-data-evaluate-expression <variable-name>" in MI.

Instead, today, one has to resort to the "ptype" command (which is not part of MI) that returns a plain string representing the type. That's too rough and make us lag behind what you get in say visual-c++ on windows.

Also, in that hierarchical view that I'd like, I MI should annotate the types so that the debugging client (the UI) can know a given field is a pointer to type foo so that it can propose better de-referencing."

One of the things the archer project would like to do is provide better information via MI to the various gdb UI's. Maybe there are other commands that would be useful to MI or existing commands that could provide more useful information. Being new to the gdb project and unfamiliar with the past history of this subject I would like to get some comments/ideas on this(maybe this has been discussed on some thread before). I would like to get a good problem definition (or several problem definitions if need be) of this and put this item in the archer project queue if most everyone agrees this is a good idea.



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