TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Fortran Debugging
Volume Number:9
Issue Number:3
Column Tag:Jörg's Folder

LS Tools for FORTRAN Debugging

The easy way to avoid those bugs that make you feel foolish.

By Jörg Langowski, MacTech Magazine Regular Contributing Author

Whoever has written a more or less complicated program (and you probably wouldn’t be reading this if you hadn’t) knows that the hardest bug to find is always the next-to last (you won’t find the last one, of course). I’m using Fortran for most of my programming (and even dare to admit that): it is nice to be able to use math libraries and other existing code and put that directly on the Macintosh. But whenever I sit for days over a piece of code and just don’t see why it won’t work, only to find out that I had mixed up the order of parameters or their types in some obscure subroutine call, I start hating programming in general and Fortran in particular. In C++ types are checked: if you try to pass an integer for a real, the compiler will complain. If I only had the time to recode all my stuff into C++, I’d probably do so.

But at the moment, I’m working a lot with Fortran, like many of my colleagues. So we’d better have some good debugging aids that save us time. Language Systems has just presented a series of such tools, which I’d like to tell you about.

FLint

A typical error in languages which don’t have type checking is to pass a parameter of a wrong type to a subroutine. Look at the following example:

 program calls
 
 real*8 x
 real*8 b(50,50)
 integer n
 character*40 c
 
 call sub_a (x, b, n, c)
 write (*,*) ((b(i,j),i=1,5),j=10,15)
 
 call sub_a (b, n, x, c)
 write (*,*) ((b(i,j),i=1,5),j=10,15)
 
 end
 
 subroutine sub_a(x, b, n, c)
 
 real*8 x
 real*4 b(50,50)
 integer n

 character*40 c

 do i=1,50
 do j=1,50
 b(i,j) = i + 0.01*j
 end do
 end do
 
 return
 end

where the subroutine sub_a, which writes into the array b, is called twice from a main program. Both calls are wrong: in the first case, an array of the wrong type is passed (real*4 instead of real*8), and on the second call, the order of the parameters is completely mixed up. Of course, the output values, after the calls to sub_a, will be totally wrong.

The example is trivial, and the error in this case would be rather easy to catch. The program even ran on my machine without complaints, even though the subroutine will write half the values for b into no-man’s land, the array passed being only half as big as it should be. However, errors of this kind do happen often enough, and will be much harder to catch in a complex program than in the isolated example given here.

The interesting thing is that the compiler swallows the code without any error or warning messages. It would be nice to have a tool which will indicate if a subroutine has been called with the wrong number or type of arguments.

LSFlint, contained in the debugging toolkit for LS Fortran distributed by Language Systems, does this kind of type checking, and a lot of other things. It runs under the MPW shell; for testing the example above (in file calls.f), you might type

LSFlint calls.f

and you’ll get this output:

      call sub_a (b, n, x, c)
### lsflint - Warning - SUB_A arg   2:N, possible size discrepancy exists
### lsflint - Warning - SUB_A arg   2:N, possible type discrepancy exists
### lsflint - Warning - SUB_A arg   3:X, possible size discrepancy exists
### lsflint - Warning - SUB_A arg   3:X, possible type discrepancy exists
    File "calls.f"; Line 11
#------------------------------------------------------------
    File "calls.f"; Line 8 # earlier usage
#------------------------------------------------------------

      subroutine sub_a(x, b, n, c)
### lsflint - Warning - SUB_A arg   2:B, possible size discrepancy exists
### lsflint - Warning - SUB_A arg   2:B, possible type discrepancy exists
    File "calls.f"; Line 16
#------------------------------------------------------------
    File "calls.f"; Line 8 # earlier usage
#------------------------------------------------------------

Of course, LSFlint includes complete syntax checking, you’ll get the same syntax error messages as the compiler would give you for wrong code. It works at almost the same speed as the compiler: in my test it took 7 minutes for checking a program of a total of 4355 lines of code, while the compiler (at opt=3) took 5:30 minutes. However, in that case it created pages of warning messages (that was on a program that ran correctly!): about variables that had been declared but never used, about possible problems with passing pointers to matrices in subroutine calls, and even about some places where I had called a subroutine with the wrong number of parameters! It is actually amazing that that program gave the correct answers. This will give me now some opportunity to really ‘lint out’ that code, which is what LSFlint is all about.

An obvious area of application for LSFlint is for those who use Macintosh system calls from Fortran. You can easily make a mistake about which parameters have to be passed by value, by reference, and which are 16 or 32 bits long. All those errors will be caught by LSFlint.

Finally, if you are still using common blocks in your code (which I think is an ugly practice, especially since LS Fortran now allows named global variables), the program will detect differences in the size of common blocks and other discrepancies between routines. Also, when structures are passed to subroutines it will not only be checked whether the size and type of the elements matched, but whether the structure actually has the correct name. All in all, a very useful tool for improving Fortran code (one must mention that Lint, a similar utility for C code, has been available on the Unix scene from various sources for a long time). Still, you have to write your own code.

DebugLib

The second tool included in the LS debugging toolkit is DebugLib, a debugging library. By linking your code with DebugLib.o (it contains routines which override some of those in FORTRANLib.o), you will have interactive control over the various debugging options that Language Systems Fortran offers: until now, you would have had to recompile the program for changing those options. Now, when you have compiled a program with -debug=3 -r -ov and linked with the debugging library, a dialog appears when you execute the program that allows you to set the debugging options interactively:

Figure 1

Each time the dialog comes up, it tells you where you are in the program (top two lines), and lets you check the debugging options. The last option is especially useful; it will let the program pause (and redisplay this dialog) on each subroutine entry, when you hold down the caps lock key. Thus, by releasing the caps lock key you may accelerate your program while it is executing uncritical sections of code. There is also an option that tries to recover from stack overflow errors by increasing the stack space; this can be important if you use lots of local variables that take up space on the stack on every subroutine call. The other options should be evident; you know already the trace window from earlier versions of LS Fortran (it displays continuously the line and routine name where the program is executing).

SourceBug

Finally, the debugging toolkit contains a copy of Apple’s SourceBug, an interactive source code debugger that is much easier to use (though less powerful) than the SADE debugger. It needs a symbol file that the compiler and linker create from your application; for LS Fortran, you use the -sym option for the compiler and the -sym on option for the linker. You then open up SourceBug, and use the Open command from its File menu to start up your application. SourceBug will then open the ‘program browser’ which contains a list of all the source files that make up your program and for each source file all its routines.

You can set breakpoints in your program simply by choosing a routine with the two lists on top, and then click next to the program line where you want to have the breakpoint. Of course, SADE would give you much better control, for instance you can have conditional breakpoints; but SourceBug is very straightforward to use and needs no long setting up, like SADE.

Figure 2

You start your application by selecting ‘Run’ from a Control menu. When the program then hits the breakpoint, a second browser will come up, the ‘stack crawl’ window, which shows the routine where the break occurred and the calling sequence starting with the main program:

Figure 3

Here, you may now inspect the values of all variables simply by selecting them with the mouse and selecting ‘Evaluate’. I should say that you may find some difficulties here when you select big arrays to display; it takes forever to refresh the window which displays its values. But for simple variables or smaller arrays, it works just fine.

Other goodies

There has been more information on my desk about new Products that run with Fortran. Two tools, also available through Language Systems for some time now, are a plotting library called SuperPlot and a ‘code structurer’ that converts spaghetti code into nicely stratified lasagna. A review of these two utilities is long overdue, and I’ll try to put it into this column before long. But until then, we should also hear again about C++ and Forth.

MacForth people, please take note that we are desperately looking for good examples written for MacForth - we’d like to cover the only commercial Forth product for the Macintosh a little more than we have usually been doing (which should not be difficult).

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

beaTunes 4.6.12 - Organize your music co...
beaTunes is a full-featured music player and organizational tool for music collections. How well organized is your music Library? Are your artists always spelled the same way? Any R.E.M. vs REM?... Read more
Tinderbox 7.0.1 - Store and organize you...
Tinderbox is a personal content management assistant. It stores your notes, ideas, and plans. It can help you organize and understand them. And Tinderbox helps you share ideas through Web journals... Read more
FotoMagico 5.4 - Powerful slideshow crea...
FotoMagico lets you create professional slideshows from your photos and music with just a few, simple mouse clicks. It sports a very clean and intuitive yet powerful user interface. High image... Read more
Direct Mail 4.3.9 - Create and send grea...
Direct Mail is an easy-to-use, fully-featured email marketing app purpose-built for OS X. It lets you create and send great looking email campaigns. Start your newsletter by selecting from a gallery... Read more
Tinderbox 7.0.1 - Store and organize you...
Tinderbox is a personal content management assistant. It stores your notes, ideas, and plans. It can help you organize and understand them. And Tinderbox helps you share ideas through Web journals... Read more
Direct Mail 4.3.9 - Create and send grea...
Direct Mail is an easy-to-use, fully-featured email marketing app purpose-built for OS X. It lets you create and send great looking email campaigns. Start your newsletter by selecting from a gallery... Read more
FotoMagico 5.4 - Powerful slideshow crea...
FotoMagico lets you create professional slideshows from your photos and music with just a few, simple mouse clicks. It sports a very clean and intuitive yet powerful user interface. High image... Read more
beaTunes 4.6.12 - Organize your music co...
beaTunes is a full-featured music player and organizational tool for music collections. How well organized is your music Library? Are your artists always spelled the same way? Any R.E.M. vs REM?... Read more
Spotify 1.0.49.125. - Stream music, crea...
Spotify is a streaming music service that gives you on-demand access to millions of songs. Whether you like driving rock, silky R&B, or grandiose classical music, Spotify's massive catalogue puts... Read more
Eye Candy 7.2.0.50 - 30 professional Pho...
Eye Candy renders realistic effects that are difficult or impossible to achieve in Photoshop alone, such as Fire, Chrome, and the new Lightning. Effects like Animal Fur, Smoke, and Reptile Skin are... Read more

Rollercoaster Tycoon Touch Guide: How to...
| Read more »
Rabbids Crazy Rush Guide: How to unlock...
The Rabbids are back in a new endless running adventure, Rabbids Crazy Rush. It's more ridiculous cartoon craziness as you help the little furballs gather enough fuel (soda) to get to the moon. Sure, it's a silly idea, but everyone has dreams --... | Read more »
Tavern Guardians (Games)
Tavern Guardians 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Tavern Guardians is a Hack-and-Slash action game played in the style of a match-three. You can experience high pace action... | Read more »
Slay your way to glory in idle RPG Endle...
It’s a golden age for idle games on the mobile market, and those addictive little clickers have a new best friend. South Korean developer Ekkorr released Endless Frontier last year, and players have been idling away the hours in the company of its... | Read more »
Tiny Striker: World Football Guide - How...
| Read more »
Good news everyone! Futurama: Worlds of...
Futurama is finding a new home on mobile in TinyCo and Fox Interactive's new game, Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow. They're really doing it up, bringing on board Futurama creator Matt Groening along with the original cast and writers. TinyCo wants... | Read more »
MUL.MASH.TAB.BA.GAL.GAL (Games)
MUL.MASH.TAB.BA.GAL.GAL 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ENDLESS UPGRADES. CONSTANT DANGER. ANCIENT WISDOM. BOUNCY BALLS. Launch Sale, 40% OFF for a very limited time!!! MUL.... | Read more »
Dungeon Rushers (Games)
Dungeon Rushers 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Dungeon Rushers is a 2D tactical RPG combining dungeon crawler’s gameplay and turn based fights. Manage your team, loot dusty... | Read more »
Blasty Bubs is a colorful Pinball and Br...
QuickByte Games has another arcade treat in the works -- this time it's a mishmash of brick breaking and Pinball mechanics. It's called Blasty Bubs, and it's a top down brickbreaker that has you slinging balls around a board. [Read more] | Read more »
Corsola and Heracross are the new region...
Generation 2 finally launched in Pokémon GO, unleashing a brand new batch of Pokémon into the wild. Even before the update went live people were speculating on how to catch elusive Pokémon like the legendary "dogs", Unknown, and whether or not... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

13-inch 2.0GHz Apple MacBook Pros on sale for...
B&H has the non-Touch Bar 13″ 2.0GHz MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 2.0GHz MacBook Pro Space Gray (... Read more
15-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pros on sale for up...
B&H Photo has the new 2016 15″ Apple Touch Bar MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for up to $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.7GHz Touch Bar... Read more
12-inch Retina MacBooks on sale for $1150, $1...
B&H has 12″ 1.1GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 12″ 1.1GHz Space Gray Retina MacBook: $1149 $150 off MSRP - 12″ 1.1GHz... Read more
Apple restocks refurbished 11-inch MacBook Ai...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 11″ MacBook Airs (the latest models recently discontinued by Apple), available for up to $170 off original MSRP. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each... Read more
Apple Park Opens to Employees in April With T...
Apple has announced that Apple Park, the company’s new 175-acre campus, will be ready for employees to begin occupying in April. The process of moving more than 12,000 people will take over six... Read more
Manhattan Neighbors for Safer Telecommunicati...
A new education and advocacy group focused on cell phone and wireless risks, Manhattan Neighbors for Safer Telecommunications, launched today at http://www.ManhattanNeighbors.org. Manhattan... Read more
Portable Dual DisplayPort Monitor Dock Enable...
IOGEAR has announced the launch of its USB-C Dual DisplayPort Monitor Portable Dock (GUC3CMST). The dock enables users to easily connect two DisplayPort monitors to a USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 laptop to... Read more
13-inch 2.7GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for...
Amazon.com has restocked the 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro (MF839LL/A) for $200 off MSRP including free shipping: - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro: $1099 $200 off MSRP This model tends to... Read more
Apple’s New iPad Ads Don’t Address Pro Users’...
Apple launched a new tranche of iPad Pro TV ads last week addressing actual queries and challenges from the Twitterverse, albeit using actors for the visuals. That’s great. As an iPad fan and heavy... Read more
Free Verbum Catholic Bible Study App For iOS
The Verbum mobile app runs on Logos’ powerful Bible software and is an advanced resource for mobile Catholic study. The Verbum app surrounds the Bible with the Tradition. Verbum comes with 15 free... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions- Chicago...
SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
Manager *Apple* Systems Administration - Pu...
Req ID 3315BR Position Title Manager, Apple Systems Administration Job Description The Manager of Apple Systems Administration oversees the administration and Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
Manager *Apple* Systems Administration - Pu...
Req ID 3315BR Position Title Manager, Apple Systems Administration Job Description The Manager of Apple Systems Administration oversees the administration and Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.