A pygtk interface for gdb in connection with (g)vim


I was searching for a debugger integration of gdb into vim and found the following solutions:

I was inspired by vdb in the following sense: they use python as scripting language in vim and implement a gdb interface inside vim. I liked this idea and started to implement a popen-based gdb interface for myself. Later I found out that vte fits exactly my needs: it implements a Terminal where gdb can run inside. Moreover, the inferior process of gdb (the process to be debugged) can be moved to a pty (by the inferior-tty command) and on the other hand, vte.Terminal can communicate with processes by setting the corresponding pty.

To sum up, after programming a week or two (of course not full time), the first prototype was ready for usage (v.99.0). That includes: a pygtk interface to gdb with a gui interface to add watches, breakpoints, view the backtrace and load vim at the current execution line. Moreover, vim keeps to be updated whenever gdb catches a breakpoint. On the other hand, breakpoints can be set in vim and pygdb can be launched inside from vim.


pygdb: main window pygdb: status window pygdb in vim


As already mentioned, the code is almost completely written in python. Of course, a very little part uses some basic vim script to map the python functions. You may want to checkout the corresponding git repository or download a tar.gz snapshot from

Installation, Usage, Features

The git repository contains a INSTALL.txt which explains the installation. As a summary, you have to set the PATH variable accordingly to enable you to call from a terminal. Furthermore, you have to put initializing code into your .vimrc.

Once pygdb is set up properly you can launch vim with a C or a C++ file and press F8 resp. Shift-F8 to set breakpoints resp. conditional breakpoints. When running pygdb a configuration file .pygdb.conf is saved in the current directory, every time the state changes. This file includes watches, breakpoints, widget geometry and similar things. By pressing Shift-F9 in vim, this file is loaded and breakpoints are updated in vim. Pressing F9 displays the breakpoints set in vim.

When pygdb detects that a breakpoint is caught a new configuration file is written and vim is told to reload the configuration. This works via the gvim –servername XXX –remote-send command.

The pygdb code detects caught breakpoints and other status changes by parsing the output of the debugger terminal. Therefore, it is possible to operate by setting up commands in the terminal directly and the gui should not get de-synchronized.

Additional Notes