The module pdb defines an interactive source code debugger for Python programs. It supports setting (conditional) breakpoints and single stepping at the source line level, inspection of stack frames, source code listing, and evaluation of arbitrary Python code in the context of any stack frame. It also supports post-mortem debugging and can be called under program control.
The debugger is extensible — it is actually defined as the class Pdb. This is currently undocumented but easily understood by reading the source. The extension interface uses the modules bdb (undocumented) and cmd.
The debugger’s prompt is (Pdb). Typical usage to run a program under control of the debugger is:
>>> import pdb >>> import mymodule >>> pdb.run('mymodule.test()') > <string>(0)?() (Pdb) continue > <string>(1)?() (Pdb) continue NameError: 'spam' > <string>(1)?() (Pdb)
pdb.py can also be invoked as a script to debug other scripts. For example:
python3 -m pdb myscript.py
When invoked as a script, pdb will automatically enter post-mortem debugging if the program being debugged exits abnormally. After post-mortem debugging (or after normal exit of the program), pdb will restart the program. Automatic restarting preserves pdb’s state (such as breakpoints) and in most cases is more useful than quitting the debugger upon program’s exit.
The typical usage to break into the debugger from a running program is to insert
import pdb; pdb.set_trace()
at the location you want to break into the debugger. You can then step through the code following this statement, and continue running without the debugger using the c command.
The typical usage to inspect a crashed program is:
>>> import pdb >>> import mymodule >>> mymodule.test() Traceback (most recent call last): File "<stdin>", line 1, in ? File "./mymodule.py", line 4, in test test2() File "./mymodule.py", line 3, in test2 print(spam) NameError: spam >>> pdb.pm() > ./mymodule.py(3)test2() -> print(spam) (Pdb)
The module defines the following functions; each enters the debugger in a slightly different way:
Pdb is the debugger class.
The completekey, stdin and stdout arguments are passed to the underlying cmd.Cmd class; see the description there.
The skip argument, if given, must be an iterable of glob-style module name patterns. The debugger will not step into frames that originate in a module that matches one of these patterns. 
Example call to enable tracing with skip:
import pdb; pdb.Pdb(skip=['django.*']).set_trace()
New in version 3.1: The skip argument.
The debugger recognizes the following commands. Most commands can be abbreviated to one or two letters; e.g. h(elp) means that either h or help can be used to enter the help command (but not he or hel, nor H or Help or HELP). Arguments to commands must be separated by whitespace (spaces or tabs). Optional arguments are enclosed in square brackets () in the command syntax; the square brackets must not be typed. Alternatives in the command syntax are separated by a vertical bar (|).
Entering a blank line repeats the last command entered. Exception: if the last command was a list command, the next 11 lines are listed.
Commands that the debugger doesn’t recognize are assumed to be Python statements and are executed in the context of the program being debugged. Python statements can also be prefixed with an exclamation point (!). This is a powerful way to inspect the program being debugged; it is even possible to change a variable or call a function. When an exception occurs in such a statement, the exception name is printed but the debugger’s state is not changed.
Multiple commands may be entered on a single line, separated by ;;. (A single ; is not used as it is the separator for multiple commands in a line that is passed to the Python parser.) No intelligence is applied to separating the commands; the input is split at the first ;; pair, even if it is in the middle of a quoted string.
The debugger supports aliases. Aliases can have parameters which allows one a certain level of adaptability to the context under examination.
If a file .pdbrc exists in the user’s home directory or in the current directory, it is read in and executed as if it had been typed at the debugger prompt. This is particularly useful for aliases. If both files exist, the one in the home directory is read first and aliases defined there can be overridden by the local file.
With a lineno argument, set a break there in the current file. With a function argument, set a break at the first executable statement within that function. The line number may be prefixed with a filename and a colon, to specify a breakpoint in another file (probably one that hasn’t been loaded yet). The file is searched on sys.path. Note that each breakpoint is assigned a number to which all the other breakpoint commands refer.
If a second argument is present, it is an expression which must evaluate to true before the breakpoint is honored.
Without argument, list all breaks, including for each breakpoint, the number of times that breakpoint has been hit, the current ignore count, and the associated condition if any.
Specify a list of commands for breakpoint number bpnumber. The commands themselves appear on the following lines. Type a line containing just ‘end’ to terminate the commands. An example:
(Pdb) commands 1 (com) print some_variable (com) end (Pdb)
To remove all commands from a breakpoint, type commands and follow it immediately with end; that is, give no commands.
With no bpnumber argument, commands refers to the last breakpoint set.
You can use breakpoint commands to start your program up again. Simply use the continue command, or step, or any other command that resumes execution.
Specifying any command resuming execution (currently continue, step, next, return, jump, quit and their abbreviations) terminates the command list (as if that command was immediately followed by end). This is because any time you resume execution (even with a simple next or step), you may encounter another breakpoint–which could have its own command list, leading to ambiguities about which list to execute.
If you use the ‘silent’ command in the command list, the usual message about stopping at a breakpoint is not printed. This may be desirable for breakpoints that are to print a specific message and then continue. If none of the other commands print anything, you see no sign that the breakpoint was reached.
Set the next line that will be executed. Only available in the bottom-most frame. This lets you jump back and execute code again, or jump forward to skip code that you don’t want to run.
Creates an alias called name that executes command. The command must not be enclosed in quotes. Replaceable parameters can be indicated by %1, %2, and so on, while %* is replaced by all the parameters. If no command is given, the current alias for name is shown. If no arguments are given, all aliases are listed.
Aliases may be nested and can contain anything that can be legally typed at the pdb prompt. Note that internal pdb commands can be overridden by aliases. Such a command is then hidden until the alias is removed. Aliasing is recursively applied to the first word of the command line; all other words in the line are left alone.
As an example, here are two useful aliases (especially when placed in the .pdbrc file):
#Print instance variables (usage "pi classInst") alias pi for k in %1.__dict__.keys(): print("%1.",k,"=",%1.__dict__[k]) #Print instance variables in self alias ps pi self
Execute the (one-line) statement in the context of the current stack frame. The exclamation point can be omitted unless the first word of the statement resembles a debugger command. To set a global variable, you can prefix the assignment command with a global command on the same line, e.g.:
(Pdb) global list_options; list_options = ['-l'] (Pdb)
|||Whether a frame is considered to originate in a certain module is determined by the __name__ in the frame globals.|