Visual Servoing Platform  version 3.0.2 under development (2017-05-25)
Tutorial: Debug and trace printings


ViSP allows to introduce trace and debug printings that may help debugging. To this end ViSP provides C or C++ macros that allows to print messages to the standard output std::cout or to std::cerr.

| output | type | std::cout | std::cerr |
| C-like | trace | vpTRACE, vpTRACE(level) | vpERROR_TRACE, vpERROR_TRACE(level) |
| | trace | vpIN_FCT, vpOUT_FCT | |
| C++-like | trace | vpCTRACE | vpCERROR |
| | debug | vpCDEBUG(level) | |

Macros for trace

Macro for tracing vpTRACE(), vpTRACE(level), vpERROR_TRACE(), vpERROR_TRACE(level), vpIN_FCT() and vpOUT_FCT() work like printf with carrier return at the end of the string, while vpCTRACE() and vpCERROR() work like the C++ output streams std::cout and std::cerr. All these macro print messages only if VP_TRACE macro is defined.

Macros for debug

Macros for debug vpDEBUG_TRACE(level) and vpDERROR_TRACE(level) work like printf while vpCDEBUG(level) works like the C++ output stream std::cout. These macro print messages only if VP_DEBUG macro is defined and if the debug level is greater than the one defined in VP_DEBUG_MODE macro. Moreover vpDEBUG_ENABLE(level) can be used to check if a given debug level is active; vpDEBUG_ENABLE(level) is equal to 1 if the debug level is greater than the debug mode VP_DEBUG_MODE, 0 else.

Debug and trace usage in ViSP library

In ViSP, before an exception is thrown, trace macro are widely used to inform the user that an error occur. This is redundant, since the same trace message in generally associated to the exception that is thrown. Since ViSP 2.9.0, during CMake configuration it is possible to disable debug and trace printings by turning ACTIVATE_DEBUG_TRACE cmake variable to OFF.

  • Using cmake command just run:
    %cmake -DACTIVATE_DEBUG_TRACE=OFF <path to ViSP source code>
  • or using ccmake GUI as shown in the next snapshot:
When ACTIVATE_DEBUG_TRACE is turned to ON (this is the default behavior in ViSP), we simply define VP_TRACE and VP_DEBUG macro using the compiler -D option.

Debug and trace usage in your own project

Note that all the material (source code) described in this section is part of ViSP source code and could be downloaded using the following command:

$ svn export

If you develop a project that uses ViSP library as a 3rd party, there are different ways to benefit from debug and trace macro described previously.

  • If ViSP was build with debug and trace enabled using cmake ACTIVATE_DEBUG_TRACE=ON, debug and trace are also enabled in your development.
  • If debug and trace were disabled in ViSP (ACTIVATE_DEBUG_TRACE=OFF), you can enable debug and trace in your own development either by defining VP_DEBUG and/or VP_TRACE macro in your code using
    #define VP_TRACE
    #define VP_DEBUG
    #include <visp3/core/vpDebug.h>
    either by modifying your CMakeLists.txt file by adding an option as in ViSP:
    option(ACTIVATE_DEBUG_TRACE "Enable debug and trace printings" ON)
    add_definitions("-DVP_DEBUG -DVP_TRACE")

The following example also available in tutorial-trace.cpp shows how to use the previous macro.

2 //#define VP_TRACE // Activate the trace mode
3 //#define VP_DEBUG // Activate the debug mode
4 #define VP_DEBUG_MODE 2 // Activate debug level 1 and 2
6 #include <visp3/core/vpDebug.h>
8 int main()
9 {
10  vpIN_FCT("main()"); // std::cout if VP_TRACE defined
12  // Check the active debug levels set in VP_DEBUG_MODE
13  std::cout << "Debug level 1 active: " << vpDEBUG_ENABLE(1) << std::endl;
14  std::cout << "Debug level 2 active: " << vpDEBUG_ENABLE(2) << std::endl;
15  std::cout << "Debug level 3 active: " << vpDEBUG_ENABLE(3) << std::endl;
17  // C-like trace printings if VP_TRACE defined
18  vpTRACE("C-like trace"); // std::cout
19  vpTRACE(1, "C-like trace level 1"); // std::cout
21  vpERROR_TRACE("C-like error trace"); // std::cerr
22  vpERROR_TRACE(1, "C-like error trace level 1"); // std::cerr if VP_DEBUG_MODE value is >= 1
24  // C-like debug printings if VP_DEBUG defined
25  vpDEBUG_TRACE ("C-like debug trace"); // stdout
26  vpDERROR_TRACE("C-like error trace"); // stderr
28  vpDEBUG_TRACE (2, "C-like debug trace level 2"); // std::cout if VP_DEBUG_MODE value >= 2
29  vpDERROR_TRACE(2, "C-like error trace level 2"); // std::cerr if VP_DEBUG_MODE value >= 2
31  // C++-like trace printings if VP_TRACE defined
32  vpCTRACE << "C++-like trace" << std::endl; // std::cout
33  vpCERROR << "C++-like error trace" << std::endl; // std::cerr
35  // C++-like debug printings if VP_DEBUG defined
36  vpCDEBUG(2) << "C++-like debug trace level 2" << std::endl; // std::cout if VP_DEBUG_MODE value >= 2
38  vpOUT_FCT("main()"); // std::cout if VP_TRACE defined
39 }
#define vpDEBUG_ENABLE(level)
Definition: vpDebug.h:526
#define vpCERROR
Definition: vpDebug.h:365
#define vpERROR_TRACE
Definition: vpDebug.h:391
#define vpTRACE
Definition: vpDebug.h:414
#define vpCDEBUG(level)
Definition: vpDebug.h:502
#define vpOUT_FCT
Definition: vpDebug.h:297
#define vpDERROR_TRACE
Definition: vpDebug.h:455
#define vpCTRACE
Definition: vpDebug.h:337
#define vpDEBUG_TRACE
Definition: vpDebug.h:478
#define vpIN_FCT
Definition: vpDebug.h:276
In the previous example it is important to notice that the following lines have to be put prior to any other ViSP includes:
#define VP_DEBUG_MODE 2 // Activate debug level 1 and 2
#include <visp3/core/vpDebug.h>
For example, if you modify the previous example just by including <visp3/core/vpImage.h> on the top of the file, you will get the following warnings:
Building CXX object tutorial/trace/CMakeFiles/tutorial-trace.dir/tutorial-trace.cpp.o
.../ViSP-code/tutorial/trace/tutorial-trace.cpp:5:1: warning: "VP_DEBUG_MODE" redefined
In file included from .../ViSP-build-debug/include/visp3/core/vpImage.h:52,
from .../ViSP-code/tutorial/trace/tutorial-trace.cpp:2:
.../ViSP-build-debug/include/visp3/core/vpDebug.h:67:1: warning: this is the location of the previous definition

When ViSP library was built without debug and trace the previous example produces the output:

Debug level 1 active: 0
Debug level 2 active: 0
Debug level 3 active: 0

When ViSP is rather build with debug and trace the previous example produces the output:

(L0) begin /tmp/tutorial-trace.cpp: main(#9) : main()
Debug level 1 active: 1
Debug level 2 active: 1
Debug level 3 active: 0
(L0) /tmp/tutorial-trace.cpp: main(#17) : C-like trace
(L1) /tmp/tutorial-trace.cpp: main(#18) : C-like trace level 1
(L0) !! /tmp/tutorial-trace.cpp: main(#20) : C-like error trace
(L1) !! /tmp/tutorial-trace.cpp: main(#21) : C-like error trace level 1
(L0) /tmp/tutorial-trace.cpp: main(#24) : C-like debug trace
(L0) !! /tmp/tutorial-trace.cpp: main(#25) : C-like error trace
(L2) /tmp/tutorial-trace.cpp: main(#27) : C-like debug trace level 2
(L2) !! /tmp/tutorial-trace.cpp: main(#28) : C-like error trace level 2
(L0) /tmp/tutorial-trace.cpp: main(#31) : C++-like trace
(L0) !! /tmp/tutorial-trace.cpp: main(#32) : C++-like error trace
(L2) /tmp/tutorial-trace.cpp: main(#35) : C++-like debug trace level 2
(L0) end /tmp/tutorial-trace.cpp: main(#37) : main()

In the previous printings:

  • the number after "L" indicates the debug or trace level; example (L2) is for level 2.
  • the number after "#" indicates the line of the code that produce the printing; example main(#37) means in function main() at line 37.
  • the "!!" indicate that the printing is on std::cerr. Others are on std::cout.