Software Tools for Efficient Code Development and Analysis in Hardware Design and Verification

DVT Debugger Add-On Module

The DVT Debugger is an optional add-on module to the DVT IDE. It integrates with all major simulators and provides advanced debugging capabilities. It is unique because it allows users to perform debugging from the same place where they develop their code. It practically eliminates the need to continuously switch between the editor and simulator to understand the source code, inspect variable values and set, enable/disable breakpoints or advance the simulation.


The DVT Debug Perspective It is a GUI layout focused on debug-specific activities. It provides simulation controls like step over, step into or resume. It also shows the simulation context in the Editor and several dedicated Views:

  • Breakpoints View enables users to quickly inspect all breakpoints, enable or disable a specific break point or define conditional breakpoints.
  • Debug View allows users to move up and down the call stack where the simulator stopped.
  • Variables View displays the variables associated with the stack frame selected in the Debug View such as the arguments of the current function, locally declared variables, class members, and module signals. Users can change a variable value at runtime from this view.
  • Expression View permits users to define and watch expressions.
  • Console View shows the simulation output and it allows users to enter simulator commands.

Debugging in the DVT Editor

  • From the DVT's editor, users can add a breakpoint at a specific line by double clicking in the editor. Whenever the simulator hits a breakpoint, the editor highlights the corresponding line.
  • The Debug View and the editor are always synchronized. In the Debug View, when the user moves up and down the call stack, the active line corresponding to the selected stack frame is automatically highlighted. Users can quickly see a variable value in the tooltip by hovering over its name. They can also inspect a complex expression by selecting it in the editor, and then adding a watch to the Expressions View.

Deploying the DVT Debugger

  • Deploying the DVT Debugger requires minimal simulation flow changes. One can launch the simulation in debug mode and specify the DVT communication library using simulator specific arguments.
  • DVT ships with debugger configuration examples that help with deployment.

Debugging Remotely

  • The communication between the DVT IDE and simulator is done through network sockets.
  • Users can connect to a simulation running on another machine, for example from a "GUI jobs" machine to a more powerful "batch jobs" machine that executes the simulation.
  • It is also possible to connect from a machine on which the source code is available, to a machine on which the source code is encrypted.
  1. Enables design and verification engineers to debug from the same place where they write their code. Commonly used debug operations like adding breakpoints, stepping, moving up and down the call stack, or changing values are just a click away in the DVT IDE.
  2. Minimizes the need for explicit printing or other additional commands because the run-time context is automatically fetched from the simulator. The call stack and local variables are available to be analyzed anytime the simulator hits a breakpoint.
  3. Allows users to take advantage of all DVT's features that help navigate and understand the code: hyperlinks, hierarchy browsing, finding usages or tracing, and many others.

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