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Home » Tip Bank » C++
Language: C++
Expertise: Beginner
Dec 1, 1999

Debugging Macros

Question:
In our project we are using many long macros. How we can debug them (setting breakpoints, etc.)? Is there any solution for that in Visual C++ 6.0?

Answer:
Unfortunately, you cannot debug macros for a simple reason: as far as the compiler is concerned, they do not exist. The preprocessor expands all macros in the source file before the compiler scans it. Therefore, the compiler does not generate the necessary debug information for the debugger. For this reason—as well as many others—macros are anathema to good style programming. You should avoid using them in the first place.

Visual C++ happens to support macro debugging to a certain extent. It can show you the declaration of the macro, but this is just about it. It will not step into a macro's source lines, nor can you assign new values to symbols.

Your "many long macros" sounds suspicious to me—why don't you use inline functions instead?

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