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Glossary keyword - Breakpoints


Breakpoints in software development is a deliberate pause or stopping place in a program. It serves programmers for debugging reasons. Some merely refer to it as a pause. Generally speaking, a breakpoint enables programmers to obtain knowledge concerning a program when in execution. The programmer will use the interruption time to assess the test environment. Hence, making sure that the program is performing as it should. Usually, the test environment includes memory, files, general-purpose registers, logs, etc. Practically speaking, a breakpoint comprises several conditions used to decide the point at which a program should be interrupted during execution.


A programmer called Betty Holberton invented the breakpoint for the ENIAC. The ENIAC is among the first digital computers. Its initial design allowed program flow through cables plugged to connect units. Hence, to interrupt the program at a particular point, they unplugged a cable. This process was called the breakpoint. Moreover, some of the first mainframe computers like the IBM/360 had console dials/switches built into them. These switches and dials enabled specific breakpoints at instructional addresses of storage. They mostly operation on a “single cycle” bases. Thus permitting programmers to observe the contents of memories and registers that were observable on console lights.

Conditions of Breakpoints

There are different sorts of conditions used for breakpoints. When a breakpoint helps to stop a program in an execution before it runs a specific programmer instruction, the term for this is an instructional breakpoint. Several other conditions for breakpoints exit. For instance, for writing, modifying, or reading a particular location in a memory area. The terms for these are watchpoint, conditional breakpoint, or data breakpoint. Meanwhile, there are non-breaking breakpoints, the term for this is log points. These indicate a piece of code’s full state at the breakpoint whilst maintaining its execution. 

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