While many of the tools and tips on this page can be used for it, this page focuses on debugging Blink outside the context of the Layout Tests. For more Layout Test specific instructions, see this page. For more general Chromium debugging info, see the respective pages for debugging on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
There are two main ways to get into blink: via debugging the chromium binary itself or
content_shell. For most purposes of exclusive Blink debugging, the latter is the recommended option because it drastically reduces size and complexity. This means building
content_shell, which should be as simple as making it the build target for your build method of choice. This should stick a
content_shell binary in your
out/Release directory, depending on your build type.
content_shell itself takes as an argument the HTML file you wish to run Blink on. Furthermore, one of the simplest types of debugging you might want to do is to see the basic page structure after a page load (this internal structure in Blink is called the Layout Tree, not to be confused with the DOM Tree or the Line Box Tree). You can do this with a simple command line option of
--dump-render-tree. Thus, one of your simplest debugging tools, seeing the page structure after a page load, might look something like:
content_shell --dump-render-tree test.html
Starting the Debugger
Debugging on Linux is generally done with GDB, so we will assume that's what you are using here. Not surprisingly, you will almost always want to compile Blink in debug mode to get all the symbols and tools you will need.
Assuming you are using
content_shell, you will probably want to run it in single process mode, unless, of course, you are dealing with threading issues. This will greatly simplify your setup and speed up your debugging process. Doing this is as simple as starting
content_shell with the
A common GDB command to get everything started is:
gdb --args content_shell --single-process test.html
If you can't use
--single-process you can use
--renderer-startup-dialog instead. Simply run
content_shell with the normal flags you pass it as well as
--renderer-startup-dialog The renderer will start in a paused state and allow you to attach a debugger before continuing.
General Useful Debugging Tools
There are some key functions built into objects once you've reach a breakpoint inside Blink. For the examples here, we'll assume you're using GDB on Linux. These can be incredibly useful for showing the trees midway during execution to try and identify points when things change. You can use the GDB command print to display them. Here are some of Blink's debugging functions:
| Function||Objects it's available on ||Description|
Nodes and LayoutObjects
|Outputs the DOM tree, marking this with a *|
| showLayoutTreeForThis()||LayoutObjects||Outputs the Layout tree, marking this with a *|
| showLineTreeForThis()||LayoutObjects and InlineBoxes||Outputs the Inline Box tree for the associated block flow, marking all matching inline boxes associated with this with a *|
| showDebugData()||DisplayItemLists||Outputs the list of display items and associated debug data|
Assuming a local variable
child in scope that's a
LayoutObject, the following will print the Layout Tree:
(gdb) print child->showLayerTreeForThis()
Blink GDB python library
When using a GDB build that supports python, there's a library of useful Blink functions and pretty printers that can make working with some of Blink's types easier and more convenient, such as pretty printers for LayoutUnit and LayoutSize classes. You can find it at third_party/webkit/Tools/gdb/webkit.py; see LinuxDebugging for instructions.
Printing back trace
Make ASSERT print symbols
Run Chrome with
--no-sandbox. You'll see Chromium's back trace for SEGV.
Use Chromium's StackTrace
and run Chrome with
--no-sandbox command line option.
Make BACKTRACE() print symbols without Chromium code
Use component build mode
$ build/gyp_chromium -D"component=shared_library"
and then BACKTRACE(), ASSERT(), etc. will print (a few) symbols.