[swift-lldb-dev] Restricting `willThrow` hooks to `throw` statements in source; customizing its calling convention to minimize code size impact

Jim Ingham jingham at apple.com
Tue Jan 2 16:50:23 CST 2018

> On Jan 2, 2018, at 10:30 AM, Joe Groff via swift-lldb-dev <swift-lldb-dev at swift.org> wrote:
> Hi lldb folks, I wanted to run this patch by you all before merging:
> https://github.com/apple/swift/pull/13585
> I noticed that in code generation we were generating `swift_willThrow` calls, which are used by the "Swift Error" breakpoint feature, not only where the user wrote `throw` in their Swift source, but also along many (but not all) implicit error propagation edges. It's my recollection that we only wanted the breakpoint to fire when the user wrote `throw` in source code, so this seems like an oversight. Does this sound good to you all? I could see some utility in also catching errors when they propagate out of ObjC calls, or out of Swift code that's been built without willThrow hooks, but we could address those in more targeted ways without the code bloat and false positives from hooking every single propagation edge.

I don't think the intention was that we would only have this breakpoint fire when the user wrote an explicit throw.  The point of the trap errors feature is to help identify the source of a thrown error.  So while debugging, if I stop in a catch block I didn't expect to stop in, I can turn on error catching, and run again, and this time I will stop when the error gets thrown, and can presumably figure out why it was happening.  If this hook caused you to stop sometimes but not always, I think that would be pretty confusing.  It would appear as if the error came out of nowhere.  Anyway, so the use for this feature is not to catch user throws, but to explain why the user ended up in their "catch" block somewhere.

So I don't think it is as simple as only notating explicit user throws.  I don't know enough about the guts of the compiler's error propagation to know if there's a class of places that aren't going to result in the user ending up in their catch statement.  I'm happy for you to leave the hook out of any such bits of business.  But if you leave it out of a place that would then end the user up in their catch block, that's going against the design.

> I'd also like to experiment with customizing the calling convention for the hook so that it uses the error register feature of the Swift calling convention to reduce register shuffling around the call. This would make the error value still available to the hook, but it'd be in the error register instead of in the normal first argument register. Another thing I'd like to try is giving the hook the `preserveall` calling convention, so it doesn't clobber any registers (since it doesn't do anything normally), but this would require us to emit the hook as a local symbol in each image instead of in the dylib to avoid register clobbering by the lazy dynamic linker trampoline. Does lldb simply install a symbolic breakpoint on `swift_willThrow` anywhere, or only as a public symbol in the libswiftCore.dylib image? How disruptive would these changes be to lldb's Swift error handling support?

I already have to know about the error register for other purposes, so I don't mind using it rather than the first argument register to fetch the error from the hook.

It looks like I neglected to make the original swift_willThrow breakpoint module specific - though that was plainly an oversight.  I'd rather not have us look in every loaded module for this symbol.  We've been doing that so far, but then swift debugging isn't as speedy as we want it to be...  So that change won't make things slower than now.  The breakpoint system already handles multiple hits for one specification, so it there happened to be more than one location to the error throw breakpoint, it won't cause any problems.


> -Joe
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