Changing the Default Debugger in Python

Python comes with a built in debugger called pdb. You drop the line below at any part or your code, and a debugger will show up:

import pdb; pdb.set_trace()

Python 3.7 introduced the debugger() keyword, allowing you to simplify the code above and initiate a debugger with a single command:


The breakpoint() keyword isn't a new debugger, but a shortcut to initiate pdb

Using a Different Debugger

pdb is simple and effective, but you might prefer a different debugger, like ipdb. You can also use breakpoint() to initiate your debugger of choice.

To do that, add an environment variable called PYTHONBREAKPOINT passing in the command that sets the breakpoint:

$ export PYTHONBREAKPOINT=ipdb.set_trace

Now when the interpreter reaches the breakpoint() call, ipdb will initiate, instead of pdb.

Make sure you have the chosen debugger installed.

Skipping the Breakpoints

Python allows disabling all the breaking points without changing your code. To do that, set PYTHONBREAKPOINT to zero: