Do you miss ‘Edit-and-Continue’?

I do. I loved the ‘Edit-and-Continue’ feature in Visual Basic 6.0. My C fill in the blank friends tell me that’s because I write buggy code but I don’t really care. I know one thing – I used it and I liked it. I’m glad that Microsoft plans to add this feature for ALL languages in the next major release of the .NET Framework.

If you are not familiar with ‘Edit-and-Continue’ then you don’t even know what you are missing. ‘Edit-and-Continue’ allows a developer to launch their application in debug mode, encounter an error (or breakpoint, etc.), edit the offending code, and continue executing the application (in most cases). Very nifty for people who write code with the occasional error.

Do you miss ‘Edit-and-Continue’? Is it a waste of Microsoft’s time to add back into the IDE/language/framework?

Comments (11)

  1. I’m with you I miss it dearly.

  2. Greg Huber says:

    I also miss it. Having the ability to write code while running it means that we don’t have to think about it as much and a lot of old-timers don’t like that because they had to wait forever to compile back when cobol, mainframes, and punch cards were in. I know someone who thinks debuggers are tools of the devil… (hehe)

    So a lot of old timers say that we are careless the way we develop today. That may have some truth to it, but just because we CAN doesn’t mean we ARE! I like spending a lot of time designing before I develop so I hope I don’t fall into the careless category. The edit-and-continue is helpful for typo mistakes and that sort of thing. Right now you still have to go back and compile for the change to take affect (would be nice if it let the change take affect immediately!), but at least you can catch it and not have to go back later to wade through and find it.

  3. Pascal Leloup says:

    Great to see that as a solution for next version. I hope that this new version will not take ages to come on our systems.

    It’s actually quite strange that sometime the debugger lock also a simple aspx page, I mean the HTMl part, so you can’t edit it. I am not sure how to reproduce that in details, but it happens many time.

    By the way Alex, can you also see if they can improve a little bit the treeview of the objects in debugging mode. I found many times difficult to search for a value in a specific attributes(especially when you don’t know th name of what you search for!) in a tre view that can expand to almost infinity !

    Indeed I am not really sure how to fix that 😉

    Couldn’t be cool also to have also the controls as they should rendered in Design mode in VB. In debugging mode so that if you want to change something in a control you don’t have to open the control, but eventually modify it in the page and saved automatically.

    Well maybe its some sci-fi but why not !

  4. Ingo Rammer says:

    Yes. This really was a great feature.

  5. Chris Willis says:

    I actually prefer VB6 still because it has edit & continue. I used it constantly. Now one little typo and I have to stop (10 seconds), find the code page (5 seconds), fix the error (5 seconds), recompile (5 seconds), and finally get back to that same point the the app (5-30 seconds). (Aslo note: usually while .NET is recompiling, I get bored and start surfing the web–another productivity killer)

    In VB6 I can fix it all in 5 seconds versus 30 seconds to a minute or more in .NET.

    I wish there was a VB 6.5 that had some of the cool stuff of .NET without the slowness and lack of editing in the debugger. I want my instant gratification back!

  6. Ben C says:

    Edit and continue was also great for just testing things out. I also have the bad habit of surfing while I wait for a compile (That’s how I found this page…)

  7. Mike O'Brien says:

    Yes! It was sickening to discover that this feature is non-existent in VB .NET… I used it all the time. Whether your an experienced coder or not you WILL have to debug your code, or make a design change that is made most conveniently while your app is running and you can step through it real time. At first while trying to figure out why I couldn’t ‘Edit-and-Continue’ I called a friend of mine and asked him if he has worked much with VB.NET and if he knew why I couldn’t. I suggested that maybe VB.NET just doesn’t allow it… He said, "no-way, that’s impossible, Microsoft would NEVER take that feature out its used too much, the VB community would be screaming if they did…" Well, I guess they did. And I fully agree with Chris Willis, not having that feature adds ALOT of time to debugging, its a real pain in the butt to have restart the app for every little change you want to make. Not to mention the fact that you may have to let the app work through a lengthly process before it gets to your breakpoint. And for the price we are paying for this "new technology" I don’t expect to be going back 10 years. I might as well just pull out my old Borland Turbo Pascal compiler… 😉

  8. marcel stap says:

    Yes! Like everyone already said. It saves time and is more relaxing.

  9. Baljit says:

    I loved edit and continue, why wasn’t it included in the .Net release. What a mistake

  10. Jinfei says:

    Yes! That’s how I found this page and I am so dissapointed to know that .net doesn’t support this. They are supposed to add features not taking features away.