Editor's note: In partnership with Microsoft Press, MVPs have been contributing to an ongoing guest series on their official team blog. The following post was written by Visual Basic MVP Kathleen Dollard

Many of the improvements in .NET 4.5.1 are tactical – they improve how you do what you’re already doing now. But a seemingly small change to the EventSource class is strategic – it’s part of changing what you do. In the same way process has been a conversation over the last ten years, diagnostics will be a key strategic conversation for the next ten years. I’ll define diagnostics simply – understanding what’s happening in a badly behaved application, especially in production. Although there’s a lot of room to grow in the surrounding tooling, EventSource tracing will help you today and increase its impact as the tooling matures. The .NET 4.5.1 changes to EventSource make it truly ready to play the central role in your diagnostic game plan.

The .NET framework has had tracing since its very first release and there are several good third party libraries. But in this old style of tracing, your code and the libraries took responsibility for all of the work, tracing was comparatively slow, output was isolated to your application, tracing data was not strongly typed, and the result tended to printf style debugging like Trace.WriteLine(…) or logger.Warning(…).

EventSource is a lightweight tracing tool that can output to many targets. The most important of these targets is the built-in support for Event Tracing for Windows (ETW). ETW is part of the Windows operating systems and is already gathering diagnostics, even while you’re reading this blog post.

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About the author

Kathleen Dollard is passionate about community and has been a Microsoft MVP since 1998. She works to turn good programmers great programmers by training and mentoring individuals and teams. You can follow @KathleenDollard on Twitter and watch her blog at http://msmvps.com/blogs/kathleen.