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byebug vs pry: What are the differences?


Here, we will discuss the key differences between byebug and pry, two popular debugging tools used in Ruby programming.

  1. Installation: byebug can be installed by adding it to the Gemfile or using the gem install command. On the other hand, pry needs to be explicitly required in the code or in the Gemfile, and can be installed using the gem install command.

  2. User Interface: byebug provides a simpler and more basic command-line interface (CLI) for debugging, offering limited features compared to pry. Whereas, pry provides an enhanced command-line interface with additional features, such as code navigation, source code introspection, and improved object inspection.

  3. Features: byebug provides basic debugging functionalities, such as breakpoints, step-by-step execution, variable inspection, and stack navigation. However, it lacks advanced features like syntax highlighting, method source displaying, and interactive program exploration. In contrast, pry offers a broader range of features, including syntax highlighting, method source retrieval, context exploration, powerful switching and navigation between different scopes, and support for reloading code.

  4. Extensibility: byebug provides limited possibilities for extending its functionalities. While it is possible to add custom commands or define custom display formats, byebug lacks the flexibility and extensibility offered by pry. Pry, being highly extensible, allows users to define custom commands and keybindings, create new plugins, and customize the prompt and console behavior according to their requirements.

  5. Integration: byebug is commonly used as a standalone debugger, integrated with the Ruby program. It can be started at any point in the code using a breakpoint. On the other hand, pry is often used as an interactive shell in addition to a debugger, allowing developers to explore and test code snippets within the context of their program.

  6. Documentation and Community: byebug has a solid documentation available, including its various options and commands, making it easy for developers to get started. Pry also offers comprehensive documentation, along with a broader community support as it has been widely adopted in the Ruby community.

In summary, byebug is a simpler, minimalistic debugger with fewer features and extensibility options, while pry is a more powerful and flexible debugger that offers advanced features, extensibility possibilities, an enhanced user interface, and improved user experience.

byebug Stats
  • Dependent Packages Counts - 2.4K
pry Stats
  • Dependent Packages Counts - 12.8K
byebug Release info
Latest version
pry Release info
Latest version

What is byebug?

Byebug is a Ruby debugger. It's implemented using the TracePoint C API for execution control and the Debug Inspector C API for call stack navigation. The core component provides support that front-ends can build on. It provides breakpoint handling and bindings for stack frames among other things and it comes with an easy to use command line interface.

What is pry?

An IRB alternative and runtime developer console.

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