Debugging in Visual Studio

Debugging in Visual Studio

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Basic Shortcuts

F5 : Start debugging
Control + F5 : Start without debugging
Shift + F5 : Stop debugging
Control + Shift + F5 : Stop, rebuild and start debugging
Control + Alt + P : Attach to process


Control + Alt + Break : Break (Debug > Break All)
F10 : Step over
F11 : Step into
Shift + F11 : Step out
Control + F10 : Run to cursor
Control + Shift + F10 : Set next statement
Alt + Num * : See current statement


Enable “Edit & continue” in Tools > Options > Debugging.
Other interesting settings:

  • Step over properties and operators (Managed only)
  • Just My Code (Enable to step over system, framework and other non-user calls)

Breakpoints

Control + Alt + E : Control on which exceptions to break with the Exceptions window
Control + Alt + B : Breakpoints window
F9 : Toggle breakpoint
Control + F9 : Enable/Disable breakpoint
Control + Shift + F9 : Delete all breakpoints
Control + B : New function breakpoint dialog

Useful when you want to add a breakpoint to every method with a specific name.

Alt + F9 , C : Breakpoint condition
Alt + F9 , L : Breakpoint label

Assigning labels to breakpoints could be handy together with the export/import functionality?


Breakpoints in DEBUG mode only:

using System.Diagnostics;
Debug.Fail();
Debug.Assert(true, "Conditional break");

Attributes

When you need to do some calculations for your assertions put it in a method decorated with the ConditionalAttribute("DEBUG").

Inspection

Hover over a variable to see its value. Double click on it to change its value. Override ToString() or use the DebuggerDisplayAttribute() to display something better than GetType().FullName for your own classes.


Attributes:

[DebuggerDisplay("Count={count}")]
class Counter
{
    [DebuggerBrowsable(DebuggerBrowsableState.Never)]
    public int count = 4;

    [DebuggerBrowsable(DebuggerBrowsableState.RootHidden)]
    public int[] y => new[] {1, 2, 3};
}

More control with DebuggerTypeProxy:

Use this attribute when you need to significantly and fundamentally change the debugging view of a type, but not change the type itself.

Windows

Shift + F9 : QuickWatch window for variable on cursor (blocking)
Control + Alt + C : Call stack window
Control + Alt + W , 1-4 : Watch windows 1-4
Control + Alt + A : Command window

Locals and Autos

Open from menu:

  • Debug > Windows > Locals
  • Debug > Windows > Autos

Can see member return values in the Autos window.
Text in red: variable value changed since last evaluation.

Output Window

Menu: Debug > Windows > Output
Control what is written to the Output Window with Tools > Options > Debugging > Output Window

Debug.Write("msg");
Debug.WriteIf(true, "msg");
Debug.WriteLine("msg");
Debug.WriteLineIf(false, "msg");

Immediate window

Control + Alt + I : Immediate window

Can access local variables and call methods. Even Linq queries are possible here.

Visualizers

One of my favourite bloggers, Phil Haack created the Visual Studio visualizer Encourage.

haacked/encourage : A bit of encouragment added to Visual Studio

Plugins

ReadableExpressions (download)

agileobjects/ReadableExpressions : Readable views of Expression Trees


DataTable Visualizer (download)

MgSam/DataTableVisualizer : A non-modal, dockable, searchable DataTable visualizer


Image Visualizer (download)

aberus/ImageVisualizer


Entity Visualizer (download)

kpol/EntityVisualizer : Display SQL source code generated by Entity Framework


LINQBridgeVs (download)

codingadventures/LINQBridgeVs : Bridge between a Visual Studio debugging session and LINQPad.


Not open source:

New in Visual Studio

Visual Studio 2017

Run to click:
Run to click

Visual Studio 2019

  • Promises “significant” performance improvements in stepping
  • Yipiee, they added search to Autos, Locals and Watch windows! (Options > Debugging > Search)
  • They also managed to cut 25px from the title bar and still make it look pretty slick.

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