The debugger is an interactive tool for examining and manipulating the Lisp environment. Within the debugger you have access to not only the interpreter, but also to a variety of debugging tools. The default behavior when any error occurs is to enter the debugger. Users can then trace backwards through the history of function calls to determine how the error arose. They may inspect and alter local variables of the functions on the execution stack, and possibly continue execution by invoking a pre-defined restart (if available) or by forcing any function invocation on the stack to return user-specified values.
When writing an application it is possible to prevent entry to the debugger when an error occurs, by creating condition handlers to take some appropriate action to recover without user intervention. It is also possible to use restarts to specify some default methods of error recovery. The debugger is entered whenever an error is signalled (via a call to
) and not handled by an error handler, or it can be explicitly invoked via a call to
You can use the debugger in REPL mode (that is, in the listener read-eval-print loop) or using the graphical Debugger tool in the LispWorks IDE. This chapter describes the REPL debugger; please refer to the LispWorks IDE User Guide for details about the graphical Debugger tool.
The compiler generates information necessary for the use of the debugger during compilation. You can opt for faster compilation, at the expense of reducing the information available to the debugger, using toggle-source-debugging.