Monday, December 19, 2011

Mastering Debugging in Visual Studio 2010 - A Beginner's Guide

In the software development life cycle, testing and defect fixing take more time than actually code writing. In general, debugging is a process of finding out defects in the program and fixing them. Defect fixing comes after the debugging, or you can say they are co-related. When you have some defects in your code, first of all you need to identify the root cause of the defect, which is called the debugging. When you have the root cause, you can fix the defect to make the program behavior as expected.

Now how to debug the code? Visual Studio IDE gives us a lot of tools to debug our application. Sometimes debugging activity takes a very long time to identify the root cause. But VS IDE provides a lot of handy tools which help to debug code in a better way. Debugger features include error listing, adding breakpoints, visualize the program flow, control the flow of execution, data tips, watch variables and many more. Many of them are very common for many developers and many are not. In this article, I have discussed all the important features of VS IDE for debugging like Breakpoint, labeling and saving breakpoints, putting conditions and filter on breakpoints, DataTips, Watch windows, Multithreaded debugging, Thread window, overview of parallel debugging and overview of IntelliTrace Debugging. I hope this will be very helpful for beginners to start up with and for becoming an expert on debugging. Please note, targeted Visual Studio version is Visual Studio 2010. Many things are common in older versions, but many features such as Labeling breakpoint, Pinned DataTip, Multithreaded Debugging, Parallel debugging and IntelliTrace are added in VS 2010. Please provide your valuable suggestions and feedback to improve my article.