How Do I Debug the Design-Time Support Of My Server Controls?

Debugging your server controls isn't too difficult. If your control and your consuming Web project are in the same Visual Studio .NET solution, debugging the control is as easy as setting a breakpoint and running your application in Debug mode. Debugging the Design-Time support of your controls is a bit trickier.

Follow these steps to enable design-time debugging for your server controls:

  1. Open up the Property Pages dialog for your project with your server controls. Open the Configuration Properties node and then click Debugging.
  2. Under Start Action, set Debug Mode to Program and then click Apply. Due to a problem (a bug maybe?) the field for Start Application doesn't update correctly if you don't click Apply. Once you click the Apply button, the field Start Application shows a button with three ellipses at the end. Click that button and then browse to the program devenv.exe, located in your Visual Studio .NET folder (the default location is C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003\Common7\IDE\)

    The Property Pages in Visual Studio .NET
    Figure 1: The Property Pages in Visual Studio .NET

  3. Click OK to dismiss the Property Pages dialog and to apply the settings.
  4. Set breakpoints in your code at the locations where you want the program to halt. Click in the margin of the code editor, or click F9 to set the breakpoints.
  5. Start the debugger for your component by pressing F5 or by choosing Debug | Start from the main menu.
  6. By starting the debugger, you actually start a new instance of Visual Studio .NET that you can attach to. In this new instance, open up an existing ASP.NET Web Application, or create a new one.
  7. Add your controls to the toolbox. To do this, right-click the toolbox, choose Add/Remote Items..., and browse to the DLL of your Web Control Library project.
  8. Finally, drag an instance of your control on an ASPX page. If you set a breakpoint in one of your constructors, the code will break immediately. Otherwise, you'll have to change your control (resize, change a property etc) to break into the code.

Where to Next?

Wonder where to go next? You can post a comment on this article. You can read existing comments below or you can post a comment yourself on this article .


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