Barefoot Development

NetBeans Ruby Debugger Doesn't Like Symbolic Links

Let me say that the new NetBeans 6 IDE, released in its final version just yesterday, is an amazing Ruby on Rails development environment. I love the intellisense features, quick-switching between controller, view, and test files, and so many other things. But the biggest thing I was looking forward to was the integrated debugger.

Unfortunately, on my Mac OSX Tiger system I couldn't get breakpoints to work. NetBeans just ignored them. I spent several hours trying to debug it, unfortunately led astray by a red herring. Since I'm using Rails 2.0 RC2 on my current project, and a new empty app based on Rails 1.2.5 worked great in the NetBeans debugger, I though it must be some problem in Rails 2.0. However, after eliminating everything different between the two apps, I found the real culprit.

I keep all of my production working directories in a main directory, and have a symbolic link in my home directory to provide quick access. Unfortunately, when the NetBeans project includes a symbolic link, breakpoints in the debugger don't fire. When I changed my reference to use the absolute path (sans symlink), the breakpoints work great.

Now NetBeans and I are getting along great. I highly recommend it for any Ruby or Java development.

Doug Smith, Senior Developer, Barefoot


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