JIVE is an interactive execution environment for Eclipse. JIVE can be used for: (i) debugging Java programs with rich visualizations of object structure and method interactions; (ii) facilitating software maintenance, by providing insight into the dynamic behavior of programs; and (iii) teaching and learning Java. JIVE extends Eclipse's Java debugging features with interactive visualizations, query-based debugging, dynamic slicing, and reverse stepping.
JIVE depicts both the runtime state and call history of a program in a visual manner. The runtime state is visualized as an enhanced object diagram, showing object structure as well as method activations in their proper object contexts. The call history is depicted as an extended sequence diagram, clarifying the object interactions that occur at runtime. The diagrams are scalable and can be filtered to show only information pertinent to the task at hand.
Query-based Debugging and Dynamic Slicing
Traditional debugging is a procedural process in that a programmer must proceed step-by-step and object-by-object to find the casue of an error. In contrast, JIVE supports a declarative approach to debugging by providing an extensible set of queries over a entire program's execution history, not just over the stack of outstanding calls. Queries are formulated using the source code or the diagrams, and the results are shown in a tabular format and also as diagram annotations. JIVE also supports dynamic slicing in order to achieve reduced visualizations and focus on the root-cause of errors.
JIVE supports both forward and reverse stepping of Java programs. Often, a programmer may discover that an error has occurred only after the errant statement has been executed. Providing the ability to step backwards saves a programmer the time and effort of re-executing the program until the point of error. JIVE also provides the ability to jump directly back to any previous point in the execution history in order to observe the object diagram at that point. Reverse stepping and jumping work closely with query-based debugging to narrow down the cause of program errors.