Search                        Top                                  Index
TEACH TRACE                                       Aaron Sloman, Nov 1982

         CONTENTS - (Use <ENTER> g to access required sections)


-- TRACING POP-11 PROCEDURES -------------------------------------------

It is often useful when running a program to have information printed
out about which procedures are run and what their inputs and outputs

The TRACE command can be used to POP11 tell you each time that a
selected procedure starts or finishes.

For example suppose you define a pair of (rather silly) procedures as

    define double(x) -> z;
        x + x -> z;

    define doublesum(x, y) -> z;
        double(x) + double(y) -> z;

The second calls the first, and can be used thus:

    doublesum(2, 3) =>
    ** 10

In order to get POP11 to show us more clearly what is going on we can
TRACE the two procedures, thus:

    trace double doublesum;
    doublesum(4, 5) =>
    > doublesum 4 5                 ;;; entering DOUBLESUM with 4 and 5
    !> double 4                     ;;; entering DOUBLE with argument 4
    !< double 8                     ;;; leaving DOUBLE with result 8
    !> double 5                     ;;; entering DOUBLE with argument 5
    !< double 10                    ;;; leaving DOUBLE with result 10
    < doublesum 18                  ;;; leaving DOUBLESUM with result 18
    ** 18

The '>' symbol indicates the beginning of a procedure, and '<' indicates
the end. The indentation, by means of exclamation marks, lets you see
that the procedure DOUBLE is being used inside another traced procedure,
namely DOUBLESUM.  In fact, within the single run of DOUBLESUM, the
procedure DOUBLE starts and finishes twice, with different inputs and
outputs. The line with the two asterisks is produced by the print-arrow
'=>' printing out the result of DOUBLESUM.

Here's another example:

    doublesum(3, 20) =>
    > doublesum 3 20
    !> double 3
    !< double 6
    !> double 20
    !< double 40
    < doublesum 46
    ** 46

To stop trace printing of one or more procedures, use UNTRACE e.g.

    untrace double doublesum;
    doublesum(3, 20) =>
    ** 46

N.B. The TRACE command does not of itself produce any printing.

    trace double doublesum;

This merely alters the two procedures DOUBLE and DOUBLESUM so that IF
they are ever run in future they will cause the trace printing to occur.
You can think of TRACE as if it adds an extra instruction and the
beginning and end of each procedure, namely instructions to print
information about starting and finishing of the procedures.

-- TRACING DATABASE PROCEDURES -----------------------------------------

If you are using the database procedures ADD and REMOVE, in your
programs it is often useful to know when the database is being changed
as your procedures run. For example, suppose you record the ages of
people in the POP-11 database in a format like the following:

    [the age of john is 22]
    [the age of mary is 26]

You could then have a procedure to record a birthday, thus:

    define birthday(person);
        vars age;
        remove([the age of ^^person is ?age]);
        age + 1 -> age;
        add([the age of ^^person is ^age]);

When you run this procedure it will alter the database:

    database =>
    ** [[the age of mary is 27] [the age of john is 22]]
    ** [[the age of mary is 27] [the age of john is 23]]

You can make the program show you how the database is being altered,

    trace add remove birthday;

The TRACE command does not itself cause anything to be printed out.
Rather it alters the procedures ADD and REMOVE so that later, when they
run, they tell you that they are doing so. They indicate when they start
and when they finish, thus:

    > birthday [john]
    !> remove [the age of john is ? age]
    !< remove
    !> add [the age of john is 24]
    !< add
    < birthday

    > birthday [mary]
    !> remove [the age of mary is ? age]
    !< remove
    !> add [the age of mary is 28]
    !< add
    < birthday
    database =>
    ** [[the age of mary is 28] [the age of john is 24]]

-- REVISION QUESTIONS --------------------------------------------------

Does a TRACE command make any printing occur immediately?

What does TRACE BIRTHDAY; do to the procedure BIRTHDAY?

What symbol is used to indicate that a traced procedure is starting to
run? What symbol is used to indicate that it is finishing?

What do the exclamation marks signify?

Besides the name of the procedure starting or finishing, and the symbols
">" or "<" and exclamation marks, what else may be printed out by a
traced procedure?

The rest of this file is for more advanced students. If you have only
done a few weeks of programming, you should stop here. Pressing the
'ESC' key then a lowercase Q will quit this TEACH file.

-- TRACING A RECURSIVE PROCEDURE ---------------------------------------

For a more spectacular example of the effect of TRACE try the following.
We define a procedure which will take an object and a list and produce
the result TRUE if the object is in the list, otherwise FALSE. The
strategy is to see if the list is empty, in which case the result must
be FALSE. Otherwise see if the object is the first element of the list
in which case the result must be TRUE. Otherwise use the same procedure
to check if the object is in the TAIL of the list, i.e. the list
consisting of all but the first element. In POP-11 the procedure TL can
be used to get at the tail of a list.

    define iselement(item, list) -> answer;
        if list = [] then
            false -> answer;
        elseif item = list(1) then
            true -> answer;
            iselement(item, tl(list)) -> answer;

    iselement("cat", [dog cat mouse]) =>
    ** <true>

We can now see how ISELEMENT arrives at its result, by tracing it:

    trace iselement;

This produces no printing, but the same command as before does:

    iselement("cat", [dog cat mouse]) =>
    > iselement cat [dog cat mouse]
    !> iselement cat [cat mouse]
    !< iselement <true>
    < iselement <true>
    ** <true>
    iselement("pig", [dog cat mouse]) =>
    > iselement pig [dog cat mouse]
    !> iselement pig [cat mouse]
    !!> iselement pig [mouse]
    !!!> iselement pig []
    !!!< iselement <false>
    !!< iselement <false>
    !< iselement <false>
    < iselement <false>
    ** <false>

We can switch off the tracing of ISELEMENT:

    untrace iselement;
    iselement("pig", [dog cat mouse]) =>
    ** <false>

You can switch off ALL trace printing by doing

    false -> tracing;

or, equivalently


You can restart tracing of previously traced procedures with

    true -> tracing;

or, equivalently:


All other uses of TRACE and UNTRACE (i.e. with named procedures), will
set TRACING to be TRUE. This may cause some odd behaviour if you have
declared a variable of your own called "tracing".

For more advanced tracing facilities see HELP * TRACE

--- C.all/teach/trace --------------------------------------------------
--- Copyright University of Sussex 1988. All rights reserved. ----------