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Consider a situation when you are debugging your code. You have a var that is strictly greater than 1. should be greater than one under all conditions. Then you catch a div by zero exception at r=1.0/var line. It would be nice to set a recorder that saves the state a line before var becomes 0. Then roll back there and see what have happened.

Running the debugger in VM and saving state frequently is the best way I can think of. This solution is way too bulky.

Another nice feature would be a log of a sequence of executed lines. This would help a lot when dealing with inherited spaghetti code.

Is there an IDE plugin make periodic backups of the state of variables when debugging Java code?

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Not an IDE with roll back but you might find the output of the Coverity static analysis tool useful in such cases as it will show that you have a potential divide by zero error and all of the decisions/steps that it took to get to that state. So if the divide by zero is happening on line 100 of module B it might tell you that you can get it happen if the function that line is in is called from A with a parameter of 3 then this if goes this way, etc.

Coverity can analyse Java, Java Script, C, C++ & C# and if you are working on an open source project there is Coverity Scan which is free.

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