News Column

Patent Issued for Defining a Conditional Breakpoint

July 3, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Computer Weekly News -- According to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews journalists, a patent by the inventor Wegmann, Martin (Worms, DE), filed on December 30, 2008, was published online on June 17, 2014.

The assignee for this patent, patent number 8756570, is SAP AG (Walldorf, DE).

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "In software development, a developer can use breakpoints to pause or halt the execution of an application program to assist them in the debugging of the application program code. A developer can place software breakpoints at strategic locations throughout the application program code. The developer can select locations where halting program execution may be beneficial for debugging purposes. These locations may also be selected as locations within the application code where halting the code will not adversely affect the system performance. Once the breakpoint is triggered and the program halts, the developer can access the current state of the program environment to determine if the program is functioning as expected."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent: "The invention relates to defining a conditional breakpoint.

"In a first aspect, a computer program product is tangibly embodied in a computer-readable storage medium and includes instructions that when executed by a processor perform a method for defining a conditional breakpoint in an application program. The method includes receiving a selection of an event in an application program by a user, the event selected for activating a conditional breakpoint that interrupts execution of the application program. The method includes receiving at least one condition of multiple predefined conditions that are associated with the event and made available to the user for selection, the condition selected by the user to condition activation of the conditional breakpoint. The method includes implementing the conditional breakpoint in relation to the application program, the conditional breakpoint configured to interrupt execution of the application program upon the event occurring provided that the condition is satisfied.

"Implementations can include any or all of the following features. The method can further include receiving a selection of a portion of the application program, wherein the conditional breakpoint will interrupt the execution if the event occurs in the portion provided that the condition is met. The user can generate inputs under guidance of a graphical user interface, and the method can further include populating a control with user-selectable events for the user to choose between, the control populated based on the portion identified by the user. The graphical user interface can be configured so that upon the user not specifying any portion of the application program, the control can be populated with at least one user-selectable event applicable to multiple portions of the application program. The graphical user interface can include a disablement control associated with the conditional breakpoint, wherein upon the user selecting the disablement control the conditional breakpoint is disabled and the event and condition remain associated with the conditional breakpoint. The conditional breakpoint is located in a startup section of the application program, executed before the application program generates a user interface. The conditional breakpoint can be placed in the application program by a developer at a manufacturer entity, and the conditional breakpoint can be configured to remain in the application program as the application program is delivered to a customer entity and wherein user input identifying the event and the condition is received from the user at the customer entity. The method can further include receiving a definition of another breakpoint configured to interrupt the execution upon any event where a client communicates with a server. The method can further include receiving a definition of another breakpoint configured to interrupt the execution upon any error or exception in the execution of the application program.

"In a second aspect, a computer program product is tangibly embodied in a computer-readable storage medium and includes instructions that when executed by a processor perform a method for activating a conditional breakpoint in an application program. The method includes detecting a conditional breakpoint in an application program being executed, the conditional breakpoint detected at a location in the application program that was defined based on a user selecting an event for activation of the conditional breakpoint. The method includes identifying a condition to which the conditional breakpoint is subject, the condition having been selected by the user from among multiple predefined conditions associated with the event to condition the activation. The method includes interrupting execution of the application program provided that the condition is satisfied.

"Implementations can include any or all of the following features. The method can further include launching a debugger application for the application program in response to the execution being interrupted. The conditional breakpoint can be located in a startup section of the application program, and the conditional breakpoint can be detected in the execution of the startup section before the application program generates a user interface.

"In a third aspect, a computer program product is tangibly embodied in a computer-readable storage medium, the computer program product including instructions that, when executed, generate on a display device a graphical user interface for defining a conditional breakpoint in an application program. The graphical user interface includes an event selection area for a user to select an event in an application program for activating a conditional breakpoint that interrupts execution of the application program. The graphical user interface includes a condition selection area for the user to select at least one condition of multiple predefined conditions that are associated with the event, the condition selected to condition activation of the conditional breakpoint. The conditional breakpoint is implemented in relation to the application program so that execution of the application program is interrupted provided that the condition is satisfied.

"Implementations can include any or all of the following features. The graphical user interface can further include a disablement control associated with the conditional breakpoint, wherein upon the user selecting the disablement control the conditional breakpoint is disabled and the event and condition remain associated with the conditional breakpoint. The graphical user interface can further include a breakpoint-defining control for defining another breakpoint configured to interrupt the execution upon any event where a client communicates with a server. The graphical user interface can further include a breakpoint-defining control for defining another breakpoint configured to interrupt the execution upon any error or exception in the execution of the application program. The graphical user interface can further include a portion selection area for the user to identify a portion of the application program, wherein the conditional breakpoint will break the application program during the execution if the event occurs in the portion provided that the condition is met. The graphical user interface can further include a startup breaking control for the user to define the conditional breakpoint to be located in a startup section of the application program, wherein the conditional breakpoint is detected in the execution of the startup section before the application program generates a user interface. The graphical user interface can further include at least one attribute selector for the user to choose at least one attribute of multiple attributes defined in the application program; and at least one value control associated with the attribute selector for the user to enter a value for the attribute; wherein the condition is satisfied upon the attribute having the value when the conditional breakpoint is detected. The condition selection area can include multiple pairs of attribute selectors and value controls combined by a logical AND operator.

"Implementations can provide any or all of the following advantages. Sophisticated framework- and application-errors can be detected early. An application can be delivered with built-in powerful consistency checks. A conditional breakpoint can be particularly suited for frameworks where standard debugging is insufficient. Conditional debugging can be used inhouse at the manufacturer and in the customer system. Conditional breakpoints are suited also for non-expert users. Conditional breakpoints can be provided step-by-step. An implementation effort is limited.

"The details of one or more embodiments are set forth in the accompanying drawings and the description below. Other features and advantages will be apparent from the description and drawings, and from the claims."

For more information, see this patent: Wegmann, Martin. Defining a Conditional Breakpoint. U.S. Patent Number 8756570, filed December 30, 2008, and published online on June 17, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=8756570.PN.&OS=PN/8756570RS=PN/8756570

Keywords for this news article include: SAP AG, Software.

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Source: Computer Weekly News


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