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Production debugging the easy way, with Stackdriver Debugger GA

October 21, 2016
Sharat Shroff

Product Manager

When it comes to cloud-based applications, traditional debugging tools are slow and cumbersome for production systems. When an issue occurs in production, engineers inspect the logs and try to reproduce the problem in a non-production environment. Once they successfully reproduce the problem, they attach a traditional debugger, set breakpoints, step through the code and inspect application state in an attempt to understand the issue. This is often followed up by adding log statements, rebuilding and redeploying code to production and sifting through logs again until the issue's resolved.

Google's been a cloud company for a long time, and over the years, we've built developer tools optimized for cloud development. Today we're happy to announce that one such tool, Stackdriver Debugger, is generally available.

Stackdriver Debugger allows engineers to inspect an application's state, its variables and call stack at any line of code without stopping the application or impacting the customer. Being able to debug production code cuts short the many hours engineers invest in finding and reproducing a bug.

Since our beta launch, we've added a number of new features including support for multiple source repositories, logs integration and dynamic log point insertion.

Stackdriver’s Debug page uses source code from repositories such as Github and Bitbucket or local source to display and take debug snapshots. You can also use the debugger without any source files at all, simply by typing in the filename and line number.

The debug snapshot allows you to examine the call-stack and variables and view the raw logs associated with your Google App Engine projects — all on one page.


Out of the box, Stackdriver Debugger supports the following languages and platforms:

Google App Engine (Standard and Flexible): Java, Python, Node
Google Compute Engine and Google Container Engine: Java, Python, Node (experimental), Go

All of this functionality is backed by a publicly accessible Stackdriver Debugger API with which applications interact with the Google Stackdriver Debugger backends. The API enables you to implement your own agent to capture debug data for your favorite programming language. It also allows you to implement a Stackdriver Debugger UI integrated into your favorite IDE to directly set and view debug snapshots and logpoints. Just for fun, we used the same API to integrate the Stackdriver Debugger into the gcloud debug command line.

We're always looking for feedback and suggestions to improve Stackdriver Debugger. Please send us your requests and feedback. If you're interested in contributing to creating additional agents or extending our existing agents, please connect with the Debugger team.

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