Stack Trace

What Does Stack Trace Mean?

A stack trace is a report that provides information about program subroutines. It is commonly used for certain kinds of debugging, where a stack trace can help software engineers figure out where a problem lies or how various subroutines work together during execution.


A stack trace is also known as a stack traceback or a stack backtrace.

Techopedia Explains Stack Trace

A stack trace works on the "call stack," which is a data structure that provides information about the current subroutine of the program being debugged. The call stack is also known simply as the "stack" or the execution stack, runtime stack or machine stack. The stack also provides information about each subroutine’s priorities and how subroutines should be executed.

Stack tracing looks at these subroutines through the stack to analyze what each subroutine contains and how it is run. Software experts define stack trace as a list of the subroutine calls that an application performs during execution.

Stack tracing is important for complex codes because it helps software engineers and other developers find bugs in the program. Because of the nature of modern code syntax, and the complexity of the average project, looking for bugs can be very difficult. Software companies use many different kinds of proactive testing to isolate parts of the software environment to find bugs or glitches. A stack trace is one of many tools that can be useful in comprehensive testing.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…