Behind nearly every button, window, or cool effect in OS X applications lies lines of code. Most of that code is written in C, Objective, or C++, programming languages that pretty much define almost all of what you see and do on a computer.
Behind nearly every programming language, including the variations of C, is a compiler of some sort, which takes the code written in whatever language a developer uses, and turns it into something your computer can understand and execute. Debuggers help programmers troubleshoot what theyive written by offering a means for them to examine their code closely to ensure that what was written does what it should.
The GNU Compiler Collection (GCC), a compiler, and the GNU Debugger (GDB), a debugger, are two popular developer tools. Both GCC and GDB are GNU-licensed freeware with versions available for just about every operating system, including, of course, Mac OS X.
Appleis Developeris Connection Web site has posted an in-depth look at GCC and GDB for Mac OS X. The article offers an overview of both tools, gives examples of how they are used in OS X, and offers tips on optimization, debugging, and more. From the article:
Appleis version of GCC is based on standard GCC releases and adds features that support Mac OS X. Some of these features get folded in to the standard releases. Since GCC is an open source project it depends on its developer community for enhancements and fixes. Developers are encouraged to participate so that GCC can continue to evolve to support new languages, new processors, better optimization techniques, and so on.
Developers, and anyone who can feel their way around code, will find the information in this article extremely useful. Stop by the Apple Developer Connection Web site for more information about GCC and GDB.