Debugging and Profiling C++ Template Metaprograms

Template metaprogramming is an emerging new direction in C++ programming for executing algorithms in compilation time. Despite all of its already proven benefits and numerous successful applications, it is yet to be accepted in industrial projects. One reason is the lack of professional software tools supporting the development of template metaprograms. A strong analogue exists between traditional runtime programs and compile-time metaprograms. This connection presents the possibility for creating development tools similar to those already used when writing runtime programs. This paper introduces Templight, a debugging framework that reveals the steps executed by the compiler during the compilation of C++ programs with templates. Templight’s features include following the instantiation chain, setting breakpoints, and inspecting metaprogram information. This framework aims to take a step forward to help template metaprogramming become more accepted in the software industry.

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