Dealing with stack traces that involve inlined code


Sometimes we get crashes with stack traces that are hard to use. They may contain the file and line-number for the inlined method but only the method name for the caller. There may also be layers of the stack that are missing completely.


0xd3c90a78( -vector.h:1047 ) blink::EventDispatcher::Dispatch()
0xd3c8fcdd( )blink::EventDispatcher::DispatchEvent(blink::Node&, blink::Event*)
0xd3e27bb9( )blink::ContainerNode::DidInsertNodeVector(blink::HeapVector<blink::Member<blink::Node>, 11u> const&, blink::Node*, blink::HeapVector<blink::Member<blink::Node>, 11u> const&)
0xd3e27485( )blink::ContainerNode::AppendChild(blink::Node*, blink::ExceptionState&)
0xd3eedf4f( )blink::V8Node::insertBeforeMethodCallbackForMainWorld(v8::FunctionCallbackInfo<v8::Value> const&)
0xd3ddfee3( -api-arguments-inl.h:95 )v8::internal::Builtin_Impl_HandleApiCall(v8::internal::BuiltinArguments, v8::internal::Isolate*)

This stack trace ends with blink::EventDispatcher::Dispatch() but references vector.h:1047.

There is not enough information in this trace to know what code inside Dispatch() triggered the crash.

Getting the code

First of all, we need the correct source code. This crash comes from Chrome version 69.0.3497.91. See of Syncing and building a release tag in this doc for how to check out code at a specific tag.

Now we can see vector.h:1047 is actually the CHECK_LT in

T& at(size_t i) {
  CHECK_LT(i, size());
  return Base::Buffer()[i];

To get further, we need to look at the compiled code in the binary that produced the stack trace.

Interpreting the addresses

The addresses that appear in the stack trace are memory addresses. We need to translate them into offsets into the binary file. A crash report should come with a memory map that tells you the address at which every library and binary has been loaded. So, subtracting this from the address in the trace give the correct address for looking at the code.

In this example, the was loaded at 0xd24cd000 so the code we are interested in is at 0x17c3a78.

Dumping the compiled code

This doc describes how to dump the assembler code for a method from a binary. In this example, it's a crash from an Android Chrome binary. Only Googlers have access to the unstripped binary files needed for this example but the steps are generic and work with any version of Chromium (or indeed other binaries).

In this case, we can dump the entire Dispatch() method and find 0x17c3a78. This looks like

 17c3a6c:       be00            bkpt    0x0000
 17c3a6e:       de05            udf     #5
 17c3a70:       be00            bkpt    0x0000
 17c3a72:       de05            udf     #5
 17c3a74:       be00            bkpt    0x0000
 17c3a76:       de05            udf     #5
 17c3a78:       be00            bkpt    0x0000
 17c3a7a:       de05            udf     #5

You don‘t need to be able to read ARM assembler to make some sense of this. We’re looking for a CHECK_LT and we‘ve found bkpt which makes sense. It doesn’t look like you can just execute your way to 0x17c3a78, so presumably we jump there. Searching for that address elsewhere we find only one reference to it as the target of a branch instruction. It's the last line below:

 17c38e0:       f010 0f30       tst.w   r0, #48 ; 0x30
 17c38e4:       f47f af47       bne.w   17c3776 <blink::EventDispatcher::Dispatch()+0xbe>
 17c38e8:       6a48            ldr     r0, [r1, #36]   ; 0x24
 17c38ea:       f04f 0801       mov.w   r8, #1
 17c38ee:       f04f 0a00       mov.w   sl, #0
 17c38f2:       6885            ldr     r5, [r0, #8]
 17c38f4:       e022            b.n     17c393c <blink::EventDispatcher::Dispatch()+0x284>
 17c38f6:       6a48            ldr     r0, [r1, #36]   ; 0x24
 17c38f8:       6882            ldr     r2, [r0, #8]
 17c38fa:       4590            cmp     r8, r2
 17c38fc:       f080 80bc       bcs.w   17c3a78 <blink::EventDispatcher::Dispatch()+0x3c0>

Before it you can see that we have code inlined from vector.h:1047 and looking further back up the code, this appears to be a lot of inlined code from vector.h and member.h all the way back up until you find which is

      if (DispatchEventAtTarget() == kContinueDispatching)

This calls

inline EventDispatchContinuation EventDispatcher::DispatchEventAtTarget() {
  return event_->PropagationStopped() ? kDoneDispatching : kContinueDispatching;

which is marked as inline. This explains why it‘s not even mentioned in the stack trace (it’s file and line info does not appear at all) and why there is so much code between the and the crash.

So the real stack trace is

vector.h:1047    WTF::Vector::at()    blink::EventDispatcher::DispatchEventAtTarget    blink::EventDispatcher::Dispatch()

It's possible that optimization can lead to more complex code e.g. having multiple routes to the same piece of code. In this case, things are pretty clear and there are no jumps from further up the method that land into the code we are looking at.