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  • Blog Post: Visual Studio Debugger FAQ

    Introduction This FAQ can be used to narrow down the problems associated with debugging any type of solution using any version of Visual Studio from 7.0 to 2008. Please be aware that this is very much a work-in progress. Please continue to refer to it as it is updated. Prerequisites ...
  • Blog Post: Debugger Tips, Tricks and Tools #12

    I've had loads of people ask me the question: "Is there any way to step into a function without having to bother stepping into all the properties that might have to be executed as parameters before getting to what I'm really interested in?" The standard answer for Visual Studio 2005 and Visual...
  • Blog Post: Why does Visual Studio require debugger symbol files to *exactly* match the binary files that they were built with?

    Recently a coworker of mine lost the symbol file for one of his binaries. Because he needed to debug that binary, getting those symbols back was of utmost importance since debugging without them is near impossible. He decided to try and use a symbol file from a previous build whose sources exactly matched...
  • Blog Post: Debugger Tips, Tricks and Tools #11

    More fun with labelling breakpoints Back in my first Debugger tips post I provided some macros that allow you to tag a set of breakpoints with a string so that they can easily be enabled or disabled from the command window. Well, just for kicks, I decided to expand on that notion a bit and made a...
  • Blog Post: Debugger Tips, Tricks and Tools #10

    Create a one-step operation to attach to a process If you find your debugging session typically involves attaching to a specific process you can save yourself some time in VS 2005 by creating a macro to do it for you. Choose Tools->Macros->Record Temporary Macro Choose Tools->Attach...
  • Blog Post: Debugger Tips, Tricks and Tools #9

    Making native array viewing easier with Enhanced DataTips I'm back from vacation, and have a new found respect for people (mostly US wives/women, I presume) that slave all day over preparing a Thanksgiving meal and then cleaning it all up. Yep, I did the whole turkey, potatoes, yams, corn, etc. thing...
  • Blog Post: Debugger Tips, Tricks and Tools (On vacation)

    Spending the week on vacation. I'll return with more tips next week! Happy Thanksgiving!
  • Blog Post: Debugger Tips, Tricks and Tools #8

    Noisy breakpoints! Ok this feature has been around for a long time, but it's really almost impossible to discover on your own. Scott Nonnenberg asked me to remind him out to do this yesterday and I thought HEY good idea for a tip! Here's what you do: Open the Windows Control Panel If you...
  • Blog Post: Debugger Tips, Tricks and Tools #7

    Moving tracepoints and breakpoints around I have found the addition of tracepoints in Visual Studio 2005 extremely useful, allowing me to debug issues that have normally been pretty difficult to deal with. For example, UI debugging often involves breaking into code that was invoked due to the receipt...
  • Blog Post: Debugger Tips, Tricks and Tools #6

    Create an Object ID to keep track of an object while debugging In yesterday's tip I hinted at another new feature of the debugger specially designed for C# and J# programmers. This is the ability to create an Object ID for any particular object during your debugging session, no matter what your current...
  • Blog Post: Debugger Tips, Tricks and Tools #5

    Enhanced DataTips have a context menu Because of the transient nature of DataTips inside Visual Studio 2005, you may not be aware that there useful operations you can perform on selected item within a datatip by opening a context menu on it. In the above example, the cursor has been hovered...
  • Blog Post: Debugger Tips, Tricks and Tools #4

    Keyboard navigation and transparency with Enhanced DataTips Steve Steiner recently blogged about how to make DataTips temporarily transparent in case you need to see what they might be covering up. This was going to be one of my upcoming tips, but he beat me to it! :) Anyway, with that post he touched...
  • Blog Post: Debugger Tips, Tricks and Tools #3

    Use tracepoints to log execution flow and even modify it! You may or may not know about tracepoints one of the cool new features of Visual Studio 2005. Basically a tracepoint is just like a breakpoint, except it doesn't break execution of your program. What use is it then? Well, rather than break...
  • Blog Post: Debugger Tips, Tricks and Tools #2

    Use format specifiers or type-casting in Enhanced Datatips. Ever wish you could use our new enhanced datatips to see an expression that requires a format specifier or a cast? For example, say you have var definition such as the following in your code: int *pa = new int [100]; Unfortunately,...
  • Blog Post: Debugger Tips, Tricks and Tools #1

    This tip was posted a long time ago on my blog, but I thought it would be a good one to start with anyway. :) Manage your breakpoints via a group names . If I have time, I will eventually modify these macros to support the notion of labels (the idea of grouping single bp's by more than one name),...
  • Blog Post: Announcing Debugger Tips, Tricks and Tools

    Given that my job here at MS is that of Debugger UI guy, I thought it would be nice to regularly post some of my favorite (or other people's favorite) tips, tricks and tools I either use, or have written. Since these days I'm a regular user of Visual Studio 2005 and do mostly native (C++) debugging,...
  • Blog Post: Wow... it's been over a year since I last blogged.

    I'd like to think I was mildly missed! But if not, c'est la vie. In case anybody wonders, I want to just mention that the past year has been a year of radical upheaval and ultimate change for me which is basically why my blogging activities suddenly stopped. I'm still trying to sort through things, but...
  • Blog Post: Debugging Glossary

    During a recent UI meeting here at work, one of our PM's (Habib Heydarian) mentioned that while at Tech Ed, he was shocked at just how many developers don't have an understanding of the terms used while debugging, let alone how to use a debugger effectively. Then we talked about ways fixing that particular...
  • Blog Post: The UI for entering new blog entries in this Weblog community sucks!

    I just have to vent! The mechanism for adding a new post to my blog via the embedded “HTML” editor is awful. It's far easier for me to launch FrontPage (the absolute latest shipping version, mind you), type it there then just paste it in here. I've tried Word as well, but it gets pretty damned...
  • Blog Post: A magazine-like interface for browsing/page-turning...

    I am part of an email distribution list here at MS that is focused on the topic of User Interface Design. Recently, one of the members posted a question to the list asking for input and/or examples of how the task of browsing a physical magazine might be replicated on a computer. While it doesn't have...
  • Blog Post: Debugger windows, under what menu item should they live?

    Andy has recently posted a question: Should debugging windows be accessible under the Views top-level menu item or under the Debug top-level menu item? Or both? Please respond at: http://blogs.msdn.com/andypennell/archive/2004/06/17/158597.aspx
  • Blog Post: JoeN's Visual Studio 2005 Walkthrough...

    In case I've whetted your appetite with Enhanced Datatips , JoeN (one of our senior Visual C# PMs) posted an article detailing many of the other new and very cool features of Whidbey (aka Visual Studio 2005).
  • Blog Post: Enhanced Datatip Design Notes

    If you attended the recent Tech Ed in San Diego, you would have had a chance to see some of the new whiz-bang debugger features that Whidbey will ship with. One feature that is very near to me (because I wrote it) is the new, much improved and useful datatips -- something we refer to around here as “Enhanced...
  • Blog Post: Articles added.

    I converted a couple of my initial posts to articles. If you've seen them great! Though, I did add a little blurb about a neat trick to the end of the 'Idiot's Guide'. Idiot's Guide to Creating and Using VS Macros Breakpoint Groups
  • Blog Post: Want to know: Use editor font in watch windows?

    One of the recent requests in my post Wanted: Debugger User Interface Feedback was to allow the font of the watch window to be different from that of other toolwindows in Visual Studio like it was in version 6.0. See the post for more details. I agree that this is something we need to do; however...
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