Visual Debugger for MSBuild Projects


Folks, Hi!

A recent feature poll on the MSBuild blog seems to indicate that a debugger for MSBuild projects is the #1 vNext request from you. Lot of other folks (such as here and here) have explicitly blogged about this requirement.

Over the last week I put together a Visual Debugger for MSBuild Projects. The v1 alpha feature list looks like:

v1 Feature Set:

  • Load project and arbitrary target files
  • Set/View build environment
  • Step-Into tasks and targets (F11), Run (F5), Break execution, Step into imported projects, step into CallTarget & MSBuild tasks, task & target batching
  • Set breakpoints on tasks and targets, delete/view breakpoints, locate breakpoints in code
  • View call stacks (esp. useful for stepping into CallTargets & MSBuild tasks), locate stack frame in code
  • View debugger messages, MSBuild traces in Output window
  • RO View of evaluated Items and Properties in break mode
  • Handles out-of-box VS2008 projects and complex Microsoft’s Developer Divisions’s MSBuild based builds
  • Requires only .NET Framework 3.5 RTM (no VS2008 required)

I have also uploaded the binaries and how-to-get-started instructions on http://www.codeplex.com/msbdbg.

Please head over there to give this a spin. I have also listed there the known issues, the v2 plans, and other details there.

I am looking forward to listening to you on the right, wrong, the good, bad, the ugly and anything else that you will care to tell me about.

I am hoping this will go some distance it helping everyone get away from printf debugging and get into full fledged debugging for MSBuild projects. Esp. considering MSBuild projects files are no longer used only for builds. (Why, my wife has even filed a patent for using MSBuild as a test harness)

Here are a few screen shots:

MSBuild Debugger Saying ‘hello’…

opendbg  

Set Breakpoint and Select Target to Debug…
setbpandselecttargettodebug
Breakpoint Hit and Output Window…
bphitandoutputwindow
Break at Arbitrary Location, See Call Stack and Properties…
breakNcallstackNproperties
Step-In, See Items and Active Breakpoints…

stepinNitemsNbreakpoints


Comments (10)

  1. Folks, Hi! A recent feature poll on the MSBuild blog seems to indicate that a debugger for MSBuild projects

  2. Сьогодні продивлявся новини, і ось Visual Debugger for MSBuild Projects , ввечері потрібно буде подивитись

  3. Two new MSBuild community tools to check out! Eugene from Attrice has blogged about the Visualization

  4. Two new MSBuild community tools to check out! Eugene from Attrice has blogged about the Visualization

  5. Michael says:

    Awesome stuff, thanks! Next time I’m dealing with some msbuild stuff I’ll definately install this.

  6. Maor David says:

    I posted few weeks ago about the feature poll of MSBuild team on the MSBuild blog . Here are the results

  7. The Visual Studio Team System User Education Blog on New End to End Articles for Visual Studio Team System…

  8. With the release of MSBuild Sidekick v2 , several questions have been asked repeatedly. But what is the

  9. MSBuild has made my life so much easier that it makes me shudder thinking back to the days of NMAKE.

  10. Are you looking for a visual debugger for MsBuild? It seems like lots of folks are. Looking at the results