Applies to TestComplete 14.71, last modified on November 27, 2020

About Debug Info Agent™

Debug Info Agent™ is an exclusive SmartBear technology, which provides practically the same access to the elements of Open Applications (objects, methods, properties, fields) as is supplied by the integrated debugger of the development tool used to compile the application. The Agent has access to public, protected and private elements.

Debug Info Agent™ supports:

  • Microsoft Visual C++,

  • Borland Delphi,

  • CodeGear Delphi,

  • Embarcadero Delphi,

  • Borland C++Builder,

  • CodeGear C++Builder,

  • Embarcadero C++Builder,

  • C++ applications created with the Qt library.

When an Open Application created in one of the mentioned IDEs is compiled with external debug information, TestComplete will detect the presence of this information at runtime and launch the Agent. The Agent will act as an interpreter enabling you to examine application elements, either through the Object Browser or from tests. For more details, see About Open Applications.

Microsoft Visual Basic applications cannot use the Agent, and would gain relatively little advantage from it, as almost all their elements are already exposed because they are ActiveX objects. Java, .NET and WPF open applications also do not use the Agent; they are “opened” by special plugins that come with the Desktop module by default.

Enabling and disabling Debug Info Agent™

Because there are faster ways to “open” internals of Delphi, C++Builder, and Visual C++ applications, you may want to disable the Agent.

To enable or disable the Agent for the current project, use the Project Properties > Open Applications > Debug Agent > Enable Debug Agent property. To enable or disable the Agent for any new project, use the Default Project Properties > Open Applications > Debug Agent > Enable Debug Agent property.

You can disable the Debug Info Agent for an individual application by running the application with the /DisableDebugAgent (or -DisableDebugAgent) command-line parameter.

Debug Info Agent™ specifics

Using the Agent has the following specifics:

  • It requires a larger executable (holding the debug information).

  • The application consumes a larger amount of memory. This is because Debug Info Agent™ reads the debug information for every application’s element and keeps it in the memory allocated for the tested application.

  • The time taken by the Agent to retrieve data from the debug information depends on the size of the debug information. Large applications include a lot of debug information and the Agent may spend a lot of time retrieving data. Sometimes the Debug Info Agent™ is a slower way to look into the application under test, than what an Open Application otherwise provides. All other Open Application access methods that are compiled into the executable. The Agent is a runtime interpreter of debug information. However, the delay occurs only when the Agent reads the debug information for the first time.

  • Debug Info Agent™ cannot read debug information for dynamically linked modules.

  • Definitions of the application’s objects and their methods might be in external third-party packages (DLLs). Typically, these packages are loaded to the application at run time. In this case, TestComplete can always read debug information for the “main” module that defines the application. However, some additional actions are required to read debug information for the loaded packages.

    If you are testing a Borland Delphi application compiled with Build with packages or an application that uses MFC classes and compiled with the Use MFC in a shared DLL option enabled, then before testing it, enable the TestComplete Read debug information for statically linked libraries project option. In this case, TestComplete will be able to read debug info for the loaded packages.

  • Qt applications require that the Read debug information for statically linked libraries project option be enabled. Otherwise, the Agent will not expose their internals. For more information, see Using Native Qt Methods and Properties in Testing.
  • Some properties, methods and fields may be unavailable to TestComplete. For more information, see Object Properties, Fields and Methods That Are Unavailable to TestComplete.

  • By default, protected and private properties are not displayed in the Object Browser and other TestComplete panels and dialogs. Nevertheless, they are accessible from scripts. For more information on this and on how to make these properties visible, see Access to Properties.

  • Methods can use parameters that are pointers to some one- or two-byte values, for instance, short int *, wchar_t * or bool * in C++, PSmallInt, PWordBool in Delphi and so on. Debug information can report that these parameters are pointers to strings, so, by default, when calling a method from script, TestComplete will attempt to convert the specified parameter value to a string and the call will fail. To work around the problem, use the DebugAgent.TreatPCharAsVType method that specifies whether TestComplete should treat the “problematic” parameters as an integer, boolean or a string value.

Implementing Debug Info Agent™ support in applications

Other ways to open applications

See Also

About Open Applications
Object Properties, Fields and Methods That Are Unavailable to TestComplete
Access to Properties

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