Configure Kettle debug session (EN)

While developing and testing a plugin for Spoon, which I remember being the area dedicated to the design of ETL processes, you may want to start debug sessions useful for the detection of errors (bugs) found using the plugin. In this short article we’ll see how it is possible for a plugin Kettle, start a debug session from our development environment, which we assume to be Eclipse. The plugin that will take as an example is the same as that distributed by Pentaho called DummyPlugin 3, more details on this plugin can be found at

There are several ways to start Kettle in debug mode, the easiest way is to change your options for starting the JVM such that the Eclipse debugger, but in general any kind of debugger will be able to attach to the process. These new options to set for the JVM are:

-Xdebug -Xnoagent -Djava.compiler=NONE -Xrunjdwp:transport=dt_socket,server=y,suspend=n,address=8000

Listing 1 The JVM startup options

The JVM startup options listed in Listing 1, will allow the opening of Kettle in debug mode by opening a TCP / IP listen on port 8000 on all network interfaces of your workstation. The options for the JVM must be indicated on the following files located on the root installation of Kettle:

  • for Unix/Linux
  • spoon.bat for Windows
  • Info.plist for Mac OS X. This file resides in two different locations:
    • Data Integration
    • Data Integration

In Listing 2 and Listing 3 are shown the changes to the startup files.


Listing 2 Changes to the file

<string>-Xmx256m -Xms256m -XX:MaxPermSize=128m -Xdebug -Xnoagent -Djava.compiler=NONE -Xrunjdwp:transport=dt_socket,server=y,suspend=n,address=8000</string>

List 3 Changes to the file Info.plist

tcp4       0      0  *.8000 *.*           LISTEN 

[0x0-0x72072].Data Integration 64-bit[1556]: Listening for transport dt_socket at address: 8000

Log 1 Output of the netstat command and syslog

To Log 1 has highlighted the opening of a TCP / IP after the start of Spoon.

After configuring the environment Kettle in debug mode, you just have to proceed with the configuration of the Eclipse debugger. The configuration operation is very simple, just open the configuration menu of the debugger Run-> Debug Configurations, and create a new Remote Java Application configuration as well as shown in Figure 1.

Configurazione dei debug per il plugin DummyPlugin3.
Figure 1 Configuration of the debug plugin for DummyPlugin3.

Once you set the connection properties, you can click the Debug button to start the connection with the server in debug Kettle listen on TCP / IP port 8000.

At this point, the start of a debugging session becomes very simple, you must set a breakpoint, for example, the method setValue () in class DummyPluginMeta (see Figure 2) and then try to edit the metadata from the plugin designer Spoon. Upon confirmation of the change of the metadata, will start the debug session in Eclipse. The illustrations below show a summary of the steps that allow the start of the debugging session.

Council to read the article Developing a custom Kettle Plugin: Looking up values in Voldemort and the blog by the same author Slawomir Chodnicki. Comments and corrections are welcome.

Debug breakpoint sul metodo setValue() della classe DummyPluginMeta.
Figure 2 Debug breakpoint on the method setValue () in class DummyPluginMeta.
Trasformazione che include il plugin DummyPlugin.
Figure 3 The transformation that includes the plugin DummyPlugin.
Modifica dei metadati del plugin DummyPlugin.
Figure 4 Changing metadata plugin DummyPlugin.
Cambio prospettiva di Eclipse.
Figure 5 Change perspective of Eclipse.
Prospettiva di Debug di Eclipse durante la sessione di debug.
Figure 6 of the Eclipse Debug Perspective during the debug session.

[1] Debugging (also known as debug) is an activity that consists of identifying the portion of the software affected by an error (bug) recognized by the use of the software program (see ).

Antonio Musarra

I began my journey into the world of computing from an Olivetti M24 PC ( bought by my father for his work. Day after day, quickly taking control until … Now doing business consulting for projects in the enterprise application development using web-oriented technologies such as J2EE, Web Services, ESB, TIBCO, PHP.

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