DWARF validation?

When developing an LLVM-based frontend, is there a way to automatically verify that the DWARF metadata being emitted is correct? Specifically, I’d like to be able to write some sort of unit test that will fail if the DWARF is invalid. I don’t just want to test whether the LLVM metadata statements are well-formed - if I make a change that will cause lldb or gdb to barf, I would like to have at least a 50% chance to catch this beforehand. I can’t really run the debugger in a unit test, and even if I could the resulting error message is likely to be poor. This means that the validator would have to incorporate knowledge of the DWARF standard. Is there such a thing?

Trying to ensure that DWARF is correct is one of the reasons why I abandoned my earlier LLVM project a few years ago, it was simply too hard then. I’m just wondering if the situation has improved in the last several years.

When developing an LLVM-based frontend, is there a way to automatically
verify that the DWARF metadata being emitted is correct? Specifically, I'd
like to be able to write some sort of unit test that will fail if the DWARF
is invalid. I don't just want to test whether the LLVM metadata statements
are well-formed - if I make a change that will cause lldb or gdb to barf, I
would like to have at least a 50% chance to catch this beforehand. I can't
really run the debugger in a unit test, and even if I could the resulting
error message is likely to be poor. This means that the validator would
have to incorporate knowledge of the DWARF standard. Is there such a thing?

Trying to ensure that DWARF is correct is one of the reasons why I
abandoned my earlier LLVM project a few years ago, it was simply too hard
then. I'm just wondering if the situation has improved in the last several
years.

Not substantially, that I know of - you can verify the debug info metadata
itself (there's a DebugInfoVerifier - I forget what flag you need to pass
to run it) & it'll warn and drop the metadata if it's ill-formed, but that
doesn't guarantee that a debugger will like what LLVM generates from that
metadata.

We have a buildbot that runs GDB's test suite against Clang to verify that
the debug info provided is usefully debuggable.

- David

There’s an open-source “dwarfdump” tool that I believe has a “check” mode of some kind, which will tell you about malformed DWARF.

http://www.prevanders.net/dwarf.html

This is a “syntactic” check, it doesn’t tell you whether you’ve described the input source code correctly. J

–paulr

The dwarfdump utility in MacOS X has a --verify mode. We are planning to add similar functionality to llvm-dwarfdump soon-ish.

-- adrian