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Debug Adapter Client (dap)

What is the Debug Adapter Client?

This plugin implements the DAP protocol, which allows CodeLite to communicate with third party debuggers.

From the dap website:

Adding a debugger for a new language to an IDE or editor is not only a significant effort, but it is also frustrating that this effort can not be easily amortized over multiple development tools, as each tool uses different APIs for implementing the same feature.

The idea behind the Debug Adapter Protocol (DAP) is to abstract the way how the debugging support of development tools communicates with debuggers or runtimes into a protocol. Since it is unrealistic to assume that existing debuggers or runtimes adopt this protocol any time soon, we rather assume that an intermediary component - a so called Debug Adapter - adapts an existing debugger or runtime to the Debug Adapter Protocol.

The Debug Adapter Protocol makes it possible to implement a generic debugger for a development tool that can communicate with different debuggers via Debug Adapters. And Debug Adapters can be re-used across multiple development tools which significantly reduces the effort to support a new debugger in different tools.

The Debug Adapter Protocol is a win for both debugger providers and tooling vendors!

Install Debug Adapters

CodeLite does not install any debug adapter; this needs to be done manually. Visit the microsoft implementation page to see the full list.

cpptools (VS Code)

Install cpptools

Download VS Code cpptools that provides a DAP debugger that supports both clang, gcc & cl

  • Visit the latest cpptools release page and download the .vsix file for your platform
  • Rename the .vsix file that you downloaded into .zip
  • unzip it into a folder: for example: unzip -d $HOME/cpptools-linux
  • Move the file extension/cppdbg.ad7Engine.json into extension/debugAdapters/bin/.ad7Engine.json (notice the name change)
  • ( Linux & macOS ) Ensure the binary has execute permissions: chmod +x extension/debugAdapters/bin/OpenDebugAD7

An Example:

For the purpose of this document, lets assume that you are running on Linux ( x86_64 ) and the current cpptools version is 1.17.5 (which is the latest version at time of writing this document):

mv cpptools-linux.vsix
unzip -d $HOME/cpptools
cd cpptools-linux
cp extension/cppdbg.ad7Engine.json extension/debugAdapters/bin/.ad7Engine.json
chmod +x extension/debugAdapters/bin/OpenDebugAD7

Configure CodeLite

Since cpptools is not installed into a common place, you will have to configure CodeLite manually:

  • Go to: SettingsDebug Adapter Client
  • Click on the + button ("New")
  • Set the new DAP server name to cpptool and click OK
  • You should now have a new tab named cpptools, select it and set the following values:
    • Command : $HOME/cpptools/extension/debugAdapters/bin/OpenDebugAD7 --server (replace the path with the actual path of OpenDebugAD7)
    • Connection string: tcp://
  • Click OK
  • You can now choose to use cpptools as your debugger


A wrapper for the lldb debugger that implements the Debug Adapter Protocol

We recommend to install lldb-vscode via brew (yes, use brew on Linux!)

lldb-vscode is installed using brew:

pacman -Sy  mingw-w64-clang-x86_64-toolchain \
            mingw-w64-clang-x86_64-python3 \
- You should now have lldb-vscode installed under /clang64/bin/lldb-vsocde


debugpy is a debugger for Python that implements of the Debug Adapter Protocol for Python 3. You can read more about it here

Installation (all platforms)

Installing debugpy is done using pip:

pip install --upgrade pip
pip install --upgrade debugpy

Once installed, go to:

  • SettingsDebug Adapter Client
  • Click on the magnifier button
  • Click OK

If you followed those instructions, CodeLite should be able to locate lldb-vscode and configure it.

The configuration dialog

The configuration dialog is minimal and contains the following fields:

Property Description
Command the debug adapter server execution command line
Connection string For example: tcp://
Use relative paths CodeLite will pass and convert files paths into relative paths before sending them to the dap
Use forward slash (Windows only) Always use forward / slash
Use volume (Windows only) include the volume part of the file path
Server environment Before launching the dap, apply these environment variables (in the NAME=VALUE format)
Environment format The format for environment variables to provide to the server, which will pass them to the debuggee. The format might be List or Dictionary, depending on the dap. e.g.
{ "FOO": "1", "BAR": "baz"} $launch_debuggee
FOO=1 BAR=baz $launch_debuggee

Using dap instead of the built-in debuggers

C++ workspace

  • Open the project settings.
  • Select the General tab.
  • Under the Debugger section, click on the drop-down control and change the debugger.

File system workspace

  • Open the workspace settings.
  • Select the General tab.
  • Choose a debugger from the Debugger drop-down control.
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