A Beginner’s Guide to Using LLDB

Workplace of modern programmer

Using the command line and having working knowledge of basic to advanced scripting languages, professional developers are able to create amazing apps and software. But their work does not stop once they produce a working app. They still need to dig deeper into the codes to find errors and bugs that may impact a user’s experience. This is where LLDB comes in. What is it?

What Is LLDB?

Before we discuss what the LLDB command does, let us first discuss the entire coding journey, so all of us can better understand the work of developers.

The entire coding experience is a long journey. After writing the code, the exciting part begins. Developers will run the code and compile it. During compiling, the code meets different properties and goes through certain methods. Along the way, bugs are detected. From there, developers begin the debugging phase.

While it sounds really exciting, debugging is quite a challenging part. Developers only have a tiny piece of the puzzle. They only know how it should start and how it is supposed to end. So to find out what’s causing the bug, they need to retrace every step they took in the whole coding journey.

To ease the burden of the developers, Apple created a valuable resource: the LLDB. The Low Level DeBugger does exactly what its name suggests. It is a debugger that breaks down applications into smaller components. Apple has set it as the standard debugging tool for Xcode IDE, a type of software used to program for Macs and iOS.

Given the scope of capabilities and functions of LLDB, its uses are not only limited to Xcode. It can also be used to examine and break down other apps even if you don’t have complete access to their source codes.

What Are LLDB Commands?

To debug codes using LLDB, there are certain commands that developers input. We listed a few commonly used LLDB commands below:

  • apropos – This shows a list of debugger commands that are related to a certain word or subject.
  • breakpoint – This is used when working on breakpoints.
  • bugreport – This is called to create bug reports that are domain-specific.
  • command – This is called when developers want to manage custom LLDB commands on Mojave.
  • disassemble – This is used when disassembling certain instructions in the current function.
  • expression – It is called to evaluate a specific expression on the current function.
  • frame – This command is used to select and examine the stack frame of the current thread.
  • gdb-remote – It is called to connect a process through the GDB server. If no server is specified, it will use localhost.
  • gui – This is called to switch into a cursor-based GUI.
  • help – This is called to show a list of debugger commands or provide more details about a specific LLDB command.
  • kdp-remote – This is used to connect a certain process through the remote KDPP server. If there is no UDP port specified, it will automatically use port 41139.
  • log – This command controls the LLDB internal logging.
  • platform – It is called to create and manage platforms.
  • plugin – It is used to manage LLDB plugins.
  • process – This command is called to allow interaction with processes on the current platform.
  • quit – It is called to quit or close LLDB.
  • register – This is used to access registers for the current stack frame and thread.
  • script – This is called to invoke the script interpreter.
  • settings – This command is called to manage the settings of LLDB.
  • source – It is called to examine the source code.

How to Resolve LLDB-Related Errors

Sometimes, errors arise when using LLDB. One notorious error randomly pops up with the message “A program is trying to use LLDB command.”

If you are a non-developer, this is a quite confusing issue. How come an LLDB error popped up when you don’t actually use it? Well, whatever’s causing the problem, know that it can be resolved. While some solutions require technical knowledge, others simply ask you to reboot your computer.

Here are some solutions we suggest:

1. Reboot Your Mac.

Macs can sleep, shut down, or hibernate. While some users prefer to leave their computers on all day, others put them to sleep when they step away. Although there is nothing wrong with either option, oftentimes a user’s power habits can affect system performance, especially if the computer runs on a battery.

According to Mac experts, it is advisable to shut down your computer occasionally. Not only will it prevent the appearance of errors, it will also ensure all apps and programs will function properly.

2. Scan Your Mac.

It is likely that your Mac is loaded up with lots of junk files and cache, hence error messages are showing. The best way to get rid of these junk files is to scan your Mac with a trustworthy Mac cleaning tool. Although you can perform a manual scan, using a reliable cleaning tool can save you time and ensure you don’t miss anything.

3. Reset the SMC.

The System Management Controller (SMC) plays an important role on your Mac. Apart from taking care of your device’s power management aspects, it also checks the authenticity of your Apple hardware. So if something’s wrong with the SMC, it may affect the active apps running on your Mac. Xcode IDE is no exemption.

To reset your Mac’s SMC, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Apple menu.
  2. Choose Shut Down.
  3. Once your Mac has shut down, press and hold the CTRL + Option + SHIFT keys and the Power button together.
  4. After 10 seconds, release all the keys and button.
  5. Turn on your Mac again by pressing the Power button. You should’ve successfully reset your Mac’s SMC by now.

Wrapping Up

Debuggers like LLDB are handy tools for developers as they allow them to manipulate and inspect codes with control. So if you are an aspiring developer, start familiarizing yourself with the LLDB codes. Be comfortable with its interface as well and treat it like your new best friend.

If you think we missed something important to know about LLDB, share it below!

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